The Revolutionary War Gunboat Philadelphia: 2019 Update

Author(s): Paul F. Johnston

Year: 2020


This is a paper/report submission presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

In 2019, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (NMAH) hosted international experts in shipwreck timber conservation to consult on the long-term stabilization and preservation of the Revolutionary War gunboat Philadelphia. The gondola sank at the Battle of Valcour Island in Lake Champlain on 11 October 1776 and was raised in 1935. It is the oldest surviving American warship, was designated a National Historic Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Before its 1961 arrival at the museum, Philadelphia’s timbers were sprayed with PEG and soluble nylon to protect it; the armaments were boiled in linseed oil. The gunboat has been on display since the museum's 1964 opening.

The conservation, preservation and display of the Philadelphia will be the NMAH’s contribution to the Smithsonian’s celebration of our nation’s 250th anniversary. Our plan is to conserve the gunboat in public view and create a state-of-the-art exhibition around it.

Cite this Record

The Revolutionary War Gunboat Philadelphia: 2019 Update. Paul F. Johnston. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457231)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 151