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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

South Magazine

NY Times Best-Selling Author Patti Callahan Joins Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum and Shipwreck Hunter Micah Eldred to Launch New Exhibition

NY Times Best-Selling Author Patti Callahan Joins Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum and Shipwreck Hunter Micah Eldred to Launch New Exhibition

Rising to the Surface: A Summoning of Savannah’s Titanic explores the tragedy of the SS Pulaski explosion

June 14, 2022 | SOUTH MAGAZINE

One of the greatest disasters known to Savannah and Charleston was nearly forgotten. The explosion of the Steamship Pulaski during the night of June 14, 1838 killed wealthy businessmen and families from Savannah and Charleston, enslaved individuals, seamen, and a former U.S. Congressman.

Now the story is being told at Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in a new exhibition, Rising to the Surface: A Summoning of Savannah’s Titanic. The display is curated by museum curator and interim executive director of Ships of the Sea, Wendy Melton, and is bolstered by contributions from New York Times best-selling author Patti Callahan and shipwreck hunter Micah Eldred, who found the wreckage of the Pulaski in 2018.

SS Pulaski Model At Ships Of The Sea Maritime Museum

Rising to the Surface opens at Ships of the Sea Friday, June 17 at 6:00 p.m., with one of America’s most captivating storytellers — Patti Callahan – examining what we know and can imagine about that fateful night. Joining Patti is Micah Eldred, who reveals the real-life story of solving one of our country’s most durable maritime mysteries. Tickets to the event are $25 and can be ordered in advance via Eventbrite. After the lecture, guests will enjoy a guided tour of the exhibition. A cash bar will be available.

Patti Callahan & Surviving Savannah

Patti Callahan believes that some stories want to be told. “Discovering untold stories is like having a great secret whispered in your ear,” she says. “And this story is one of those secrets.” Further, Callahan declares her deep-rooted feeling that the explosion of the Pulaski “impacted places I love, Savannah and Bluffton.” Determined to find the story, Patti undertook intense research, utilizing materials from Ships of the Sea and the Georgia Historical Society that inspired her fascinating, dual-timeline historical novel, Surviving Savannah.

Surviving Savannah tells the story of one of the families on the Pulaski, and also explores “our collective idea that survival merits some kind of worthiness, that everything happens for a reason, and that our lives are destined to end up in certain ways,” Callahan says.

Patti was only three weeks into her research and plotting the storyline for Surviving Savannah when a headline appeared on her computer screen stating the shipwreck of the Pulaski had been found. Since then, Patti and shipwreck hunter Micah Eldred have spoken numerous times, and together they can provide a full picture of the Pulaski, past and present.

Pulaski Pulaski Explosion From The 1848 Book by Charles Ellms / Courtesy NC Department of Cultural Resources

Rising to the Surface

“Patti and Micah’s input has been integral to the Rising to the Surface exhibition,” said Melton. “Since the Titanic sank in 1912, the Pulaski has been known as the ‘Titanic of the South’ in maritime circles. Incorporating some of Patti’s research and Micah’s artifacts helped us create a richly layered exhibit that brings the tragic story back to life.”

Micah Eldred and Endurance Exploration Group

Micah Eldred is the founder and CEO of the Endurance Exploration Group, which discovered the Pulaski shipwreck in 2018 about 30 miles off Wilmington, North Carolina, in what Eldred terms a “shallow wreck.” Partnering with Blue Waters Ventures International, Eldred’s team felt sure the wreck they located was the Pulaski. When they found a small metal tag with the words “SB Pulaski” engraved on it, they were certain. Micah has loaned artifacts from the shipwreck to the Rising to the Surface exhibition.

About New York Times best-selling author Patti Callahan

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels and podcast host. She is the recipient of The Christy Award 2019 Winner “Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019. She is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online Friends and Fiction live web show and podcast. Patti is also a contributor to the monthly life lesson essay column for Parade Magazine. Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full-time. A full-time author and mother of three, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

See Patti at Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in a video teaser for Surviving Savannah here: Patti at Ships of the Sea

About Shipwreck Hunter Micah Eldred

Micah Eldred is the founder and CEO of the Endurance Exploration Group. Micah grew up in Florida. When he was a young boy, he sailed with his dad to the Dry Tortugas, located about 70 miles west of Key West. During his first dive, Micah found a huge ship’s anchor. Thus began his love of hunting shipwrecks.

For most of his career, Micah has established businesses in the financial services industry and is the non-attorney co-founder of a law firm in Washington, D.C. However, in 2006, Micah turned his attention to his pleasure by founding Endurance Exploration, which specializes in historic shipwreck research and survey and recovery of lost ships containing valuable cargoes. Over the past 6 years, Endurance has developed a research database of more than 1,400 ships that are known to be lost in the world’s oceans.

See a 9-minute YouTube from the Discovery Channel’s Expedition Unknown here.

About Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum

Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum was founded in 1966. The museum exhibits ship models, paintings, and maritime antiques, and interprets the rich story of Savannah’s illustrious maritime history. Ships of the Sea is housed in the William Scarbrough House, built in 1819, and is home to the largest private gardens in Savannah’s historic district. Many consider Ships of the Sea to be one of the best maritime museums in the country.

Telephone for general inquiries about the June 17 exhibition opening: 912.232.1511

June 17 exhibition opening: 41 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Savannah, GA 31401

1 Comment

Unknown member
Dec 13, 2022

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