If you’re traveling around looking for steamboat history, you have to look at the not so obvious things. Avoid the main tourist attractions. Don’t look for a “steamboat museum”. There are some around like the ones in Davenport and in Marietta. But in general steamboat history is not big business – usually you’ll find a river room or even only a small corner in a museum that takes care of river related memorabilia and some pieces from old steamboats like a steam gauge, a captain’s hat, some log books or a name sign of a boat.
Ask for local museums at the Chamber of Commerce at small river towns. If you find a place closed, don’t be afraid to ask in the next shop whether they know who is taking care of the museum. You’d probably find someone who will show you around.
If you visit one of the remaining boats, always ask for guidance. Most of the river people are more than happy if they find someone who really cares about their boat. Sometime you may even make it up to the pilot house or down to the engine room. But be patient and courteous. Directly asking for pilot house access is the best way to never get there.
Some times you will have to access private property for the best sights, like the hull of the “Chris Greene”. Please remember to be carefully and friendly there. Don’t disturb the owners. Best you ask for access before you just stumble in their backyard. All the other steamboat travelers will be very thankful for this as they will have a much better chance to see the places in the future if the owners get known to steamboat travelers as friendly and courteous people.