Share the adventure of the high seas at the Texas Seaport Museum, home of the celebrated 1877 tall ship ELISSA. Explore the decks of this floating National Historic Landmark which has also been designated one of America's Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Walk ELISSA's decks and imagine the days when daring sailors challenged the world's oceans. In the adjacent museum and theater, witness the story of ELISSA's dramatic rescue from the scrap yard and her meticulous restoration.
Located in the historic port of Galveston, the Texas Seaport Museum also tells the story of a rich legacy of seaborne commerce and immigration. Look for ancestors with a one-of-a-kind computer database containing the names of more than 133,000 immigrants who entered the United States through Galveston, “‘The Ellis Island of the West”‘. Join the Museum's staff and volunteers as they bring the past to life through special exhibits and educational programs.
Admission includes self-guided tours of the Texas Seaport Museum and Elissa, a theater presentation and access to the Galveston Immigration Database.
1877 Tall Ship ELISSA
ELISSA is a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland by Alexander Hall & Company. She carries nineteen sails covering over one-quarter of an acre in surface area. Tall ships are classified by the configuration of their sailing rig. In ELISSA's case, she is a ‘barque' because she carries square and fore-and-aft sails on her fore and mainmasts, but only fore-and-aft sails on her mizzenmast. From her stern to the tip of her jibboom she measures 205 feet. Her height is 99 feet, 9 inches at the main mast and she displaces about 620 tons at her current ballast. But, she is much more than iron, wood and canvas…
Who is Elissa?
According to the Marjorie Lyle, granddaughter of ELISSA's builder, Henry Fowler Watt, the name was taken from the epic Roman poem The Aeneid, in which the tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage, is the unifying theme of the first four books of that tale. Dido was originally a Phoenician princess named Elissa, who fled from Tyre to Africa and founded Carthage.
Unlike some tall ships of today ELISSA is not a replica, but a survivor. She was built during the decline of the “Age of Sail” to fill a niche in maritime commerce. Over her 90-year commercial history she carried a variety of cargos to ports around the world, for a succession of owners. Her working life as a freighter came to an end in Piraeus Harbor, Greece, where she was rescued from the scrap yard by a variety of ship preservationists who refused to let her die. The story of ELISSA's discovery and restoration is nothing short of miraculous, and is beautifully retold in photographs and a video presentation at the Texas Seaport Museum.
Today ELISSA is much more than an artifact from a bygone era. She is a fully-functional vessel that continues to sail annually during sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to Galveston Historical Foundation and its commitment to bring history to life, combined with the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who keep her seaworthy and train each year to sail her, ELISSA and the art of 19th Century square-rigged sailing are alive and well.
Adult [Age 19 yrs and up]: $12
Youth [Age 6 through 18]: $9
Child [Age 5 and under]: FREE
Galveston for Homeschools
The Texas Seaport Museum is a great place to explore Texas history. The museum is home to the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, the official tall ship of Texas, and it has a two-story museum of maritime history. It also contains a database of 133,000 immigrants who entered the United States through the port of Galveston.
Before Your Visit
During Your Visit
- Visit the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, and answer the questions from the worksheet
After Your Visit
- Answer the reflection questions in the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA worksheet
- 500 on ELISSA & museum site
- Outdoor: 300 for seated on the pier
Hours of Operation
Open daily: 9am - 6pm
Last ticket sold at 5 pm
Open daily: 10am - 5pm
Last ticket sold at 4pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and during annual Sea Trials.
Note: Hours may be seasonal and subject to change.