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The Elissa Ship & Galveston’s Texas Seaport Museum

europa-1185800The Texas seaport museum in Galveston, TX is one of the few seaworthy museums you’ll ever see. It’s also a rare example of a historical artifact that you can go inside of. Intrigued yet? The Elissa is a tall ship—the kind of high-masted ship that conquered the oceans for centuries before the adoption of seaworthy steam boats. While it can no longer do its job better than what’s on the market now, the Elissa still draws awe and admiration from those who love history, the sea, and sailing vessels.

What’s There?

If you decide to tour the Elissa ship in Galveston you’ll get to see the main deck and learn about what kind of sailing the ship was used for during its many decades of service. The tour also includes the living quarters of the crew, providing glimpses into the lives of people who lived so long ago.

Reasons to Visit the Elissa Ship in Galveston

How often in this country do you get to touch—much less go inside—anything over 100 years old? In a country as young as ours, the opportunity is rare, with much of our history having been destroyed in a Civil War halfway through our country’s (current) story, and many more relics since having been rapidly discarded in a sweeping industrialization that brought America into the 20th century as a leader, leaving much of its 19th century left behind. But the Elissa ship in Galveston is not a mere replica from a lost era—she is a restoration, meaning most of what you touch is what sailors used over 120 years ago. Even today, she participates in sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico.

Saying the Elissa is only a boat is like saying a 1969 Corvette is only a car. The Elissa is steeped in a bygone era, and everything from its towering size (we have many buildings taller than it now, but would YOU want to climb up two stories using nothing but a lattice of ropes?) to its crew quarters reveals to us a world vastly different to us, and yet no less important than our own. She is a treasure of not only that time, but ours as well: The National Trust for Historic Preservation declared her one of America’s Treasures.

Where to Find the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston, TX

The Elissa Ship in Galveston is located within the Texas Seaport Museum. Not far from Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum—another museum that is literally on the water—the Texas Seaport Museum is off Wharf Road, between Moody Avenue and 22nd Street. Parking is located on the south side of the street, with the museum being on the north.