JUNEAU – “Taking water and foundering, for God’s sake come and save us!” Thus read one of the S.O.S. messages sent from the S.S. Princess Sophia at the time of the ship’s 1918 sinking. In recognition of the 100th year anniversary of the tragic event, the Alaska State Museum, in the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff building, will open its summer exhibit on First Friday. Titanic of the North: The 1918 Wreck of the S.S. Princess Sophia, chronicles the worst shipwreck ever in the Pacific Northwest. Over 350 passengers lost their lives in the wintry waters off the Alaskan coast when the SS Princess Sophia hit Vanderbilt Reef near Juneau, and sank with all aboard. The vessel was heading south to its home port in Victoria when it sank in a terrible storm.
During the 4:30-7:00 opening reception, museum admission is free and the Friends of the State Library, Archives, & Museum will offer light refreshments.
Following the reception, at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall, underwater archaeologist Jacques Marc and local diver Annette Smith will present a lecture entitled, "Life Aboard the Princess Sophia." Marc and Smith will explore life on board the Princess Sophia pre-sinking, discuss its loss, and explain what the dive-recovered crockery tells us.
The Alaska State Museum has partnered with the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and the Pioneers of Alaska-Juneau chapter, on this exhibit that looks at this historical event and the lives of the individuals who made up the passengers and crew of the Princess Sophia. The exhibit provide a window into a critical time in the history of 20th century encompassing the end of the First World War and the development of the west coast.
A series of Princess Sophia-related events will be happening all around town to commemorate the 1918 wreck of the Princess Sophia. There are several community organizations involved, including the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, the public libraries, the Pioneers of Alaska, the Yacht Club, and the Orpheus Project (formerly Opera to go). View a list of our events.
Summer hours at the Museum are 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, seven days a week. Summer admission prices are $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, and those age 18 and under are admitted free. An annual pass that allows unlimited visits to the Alaska State Museum and the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka is available for $35. Assistance is available for visitors who have special needs; please contact Visitor Services at 465-2901 before the visit.
PO Box 110571Juneau AK 99811-0571
395 Whittier StreetJuneau AK 99801