Found At Sea

Found At Sea

New Branson museum shares booty of three shipwrecks


Young or not so young, if you ever dreamed of diving to a shipwreck, recovering a handful of gold coins or deploying an ROV to see sights never before seen by human eyes, then Emma Hamilton has a deal for you. She’s the general manager and one of the owners of Shipwrecked Treasure Museum at the Branson Landing, and she can make all of those dreams come true, at least virtually.

The interactive museum, which officially opened earlier this month, showcases the artifacts recovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration from three shipwrecks:

• The SS Republic held a Civil War-era treasure trove of some 14,000 artifacts and 51,000 silver and gold coins valued at $75 million. In the fall of 1865, the ship set out from New York loaded with supplies to rejuvenate the economy in New Orleans after the Civil War, Hamilton explains. After losing a two-day battle with a hurricane, the ship went down approximately 100 miles off the coast of Georgia, creating a time capsule of the era on the ocean floor that would be discovered 140 years later.

• The pirate-era Spanish galleon Tortugas, which sank in 1622 while traveling back to Spain in the same fleet as the Atocha and Santa Margarita, was loaded with priceless treasures from the New World. Discovered near the Florida Keys, the Tortugas is notable for being the first fully robotic deep water recovery in history. More than 17,000 artifacts were recovered, including pieces of eight, Hamilton says.

• And the SS Gairsoppa, a British cargo steamship which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1941 during World War II. More than 90,000 pounds of silver were recovered from the shipwreck, making it the largest deepwater precious metal recovery in history.

“We have over 500 authentic artifacts. They range in date from the Roman Empire all the way through World War II, everything from little, tiny pearls and glass beads to 100 pound bricks of silver and gold and all kinds of other pieces along the way,” Hamilton says. Among them are the original bell, an original porthole and preserved champagne, beer, medicine and perfumes from the Republic; cannonballs from the Tortugas; and silver ingots from the SS Gairsoppa.

But Hamilton says it’s not all history. There’s plenty of science and adventure, too, including films made by the Discovery Channel and National Geographic, the chance to attempt to pick up coins from a sandy simulation of the ocean floor using a robotic arm like the ones used by Odyssey Marine Exploration; the virtual experience of a Category 1 hurricane in the hurricane simulator; and a practical opportunity to tie a clove hitch, bowline knots, a figure-of-eight and a round turn in Blackbeard’s Adventure Pirates’ Lair.

“It’s important to us to have every age group connect and learn,” says Hamilton, who has been developing attractions in Branson for the past decade. “So there’s everything from beautiful amphora to navigational tools, beads and pottery, but there’s also a hurricane simulator and lots of different hands-on activities.

“I know my education and appreciation for these artifacts has definitely grown with this project,” she adds. “All of the pieces have such unique histories, it’s encouraged me to learn so much more.”



Shipwrecked Treasure Museum

WHEN — Opens 10 a.m. daily; call for information about the covid-19 shutdown

WHERE — Branson Landing, across from Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

COST — $9.95 ages 4-17; $24.95 ages 18 & older; $59.95 family pass

INFO — 417-635-5041 or

Categories: Family Friendly