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New exhibit at the Woodrow Wilson House: The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Mallows Bay ariel shotOverhead photo of one of the WWI shipwrecks that fill Mallows Bay in Maryland.Partially submerged in the middle of the Potomac River, in Mallows Bay, lies the largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere. This abandoned fleet includes more than 200 shipwrecks, the majority of which date to World War I, and they represent a haunting legacy of the war.

In April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson approved the greatest shipbuilding program in history: an order for 1,000 ships to make up the shortage of transport vessels needed for the war effort. The war ended before any ships were put into service and hundreds were simply scrapped in the Bay.

To celebrate its legacy, the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington DC presents a new museum exhibit that explores the Ghost Fleet’s fascinating—and scandalous—history.

WWH Logo rgb blackThis exhibit will explore the history of this “Ghost Fleet,” tell the stories behind a scandalous wartime boondoggle and highlight the rich archaeological and ecological treasure it has become today.

The exhibit opened on Friday, October 27, and runs through February, 2018.

Previous coverage of Mallows Bay, "the richest marine heritage site in the United States,” according to Samuel Orlando, Chesapeake Bay Regional Coordinator at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) office of National Maritime Sanctuaries, can be found here. The State of Maryland's WWI web site has a story about Mallows Bay here.

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