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Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

On-Demand Programs

The Wreck of the Steamship Portland: Rediscovering the Titanic of New England
A Talk with Dr. Calvin Mires

Recorded on November 17, 2021

On November 27, 1898, the paddlewheel steamship PS Portland was on its way from Boston, Massachusetts to Portland, Maine when it was hit by a powerful storm and sank off of Cape Ann with all hands. Often labeled "New England's Titanic" due to the long-unknown position of the wreckage and substantial loss of life, the loss represented New England's greatest steamship disaster before 1900. Today, the location of the wreckage lies within the federally-protected Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Since 2002 the sanctuary has been exploring the wreck with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Marine Imaging Technologies, collecting video imagery to develop virtual 3-D models and educate the public about underwater research. In this talk, Dr. Calvin Mires, WHOI research associate, explores the history, preservation efforts, and the new mission to create a virtual exhibit of the shipwreck.