U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton, along with U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, have introduced legislation to create a commemorative coin in remembrance of the Sultana steamboat disaster.
The bill was previously introduced in 2021. It would direct the Treasury to mint and issue $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins and half-dollar coins this year.
A portion of the proceeds from the coin would be allotted to fund the preservation, maintenance and display of artifacts at the Sultana Disaster Museum in Marion.
“This commemorative coin will help share the stories of victims and survivors of the Sultana while preserving a piece of our history and ensuring this tragedy is not forgotten,” Boozman said in a news release.
The Sultana, a commercial steamboat, exploded and sunk in the Mississippi River in 1865. The disaster killed at least 1,500 people, making it the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history.
The remains of the Sultana were rediscovered in 1982 and efforts were launched to preserve the artifacts. In 2011, Arkansas State University hosted the first public exhibit of relics from the disaster. A small museum later opened in Marion to house the exhibit.
Now, the museum has plans to grow. It has acquired a 17,000-SF former school auditorium in Marion as its future home.