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Three hundred and fifty ships were known to have gone down or wrecked off the shores of Cape Cod between 1850 and 1900.  Thousands of lives have been lost on these ships.  This number does not address the hundreds of ships recorded as lost, with no record of where the ship went down or any evidence of wreckage.

During this period, when most goods were transported by sea, there would have been upward of three to sometime four hundred ships passing up and down the shores of Cape Cod each day.  This volume of sea traffic coupled with the notorious New England Nor’easter resulted in a very large number of shipwrecks.

The CHM’s exhibit Shipwrecks tells the story of ten prominent sea disasters, utilizing newspaper accounts, log books, historical photographs, paintings, personal letters and marine artifacts. We relate the drama and uncertainty associated with the sea and the unforgiving environment in which ships were forced to travel and the unparalleled sacrifice and heroism of the people who lived here to save them.