Independence Seaport Museum

The Seaport Museum maintains a 12,000 plus ship plan collection relating to vessels built in the greater Philadelphia area. These include personal crafts, commercial vessels and military ships and submarines.

Name of Collections:

  • Small Craft Plan collection
  • Large Craft Plan collection
  • Becuna (Submarine) plans
  • John H. Mathis Company records
  • John Lenthall papers of The Franklin Institute
  • Pennsylvania Railroad records
  • RTC Shipbuilding Co. records
  • Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company records
  • Thomas D. Bowes, M.E., Associates records
  • William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Company collection of The Franklin Institute


Small Craft Plan collection: The collection is comprised of traditional wooden craft built along the Delaware River and the New Jersey seaboard. It includes plans for: canoes, catboats, Delaware duckers, garveys, mellon seeds, oyster schooners, skiffs, sloops, sneakboxes, tuck-ups and other small vessels.

Large Craft Plan collection: The collection contains plans for both wood, iron and steel vessels. Companies represented include: Philadelphia and Reading Transportation Line, Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad, Delaware River Ferry Company, Pusey and Jones, Morris and Mathis, RTC Shipbuilding, J. Murray Watts and more. There are also plans by Edward Brownlee in the collection.

Vessel Types

  • Military
  • Commercial / Cargo
  • Commercial / Passenger
  • Commercial / Fishing
  • Recreation / Pleasure
  • Sailing
  • Steam
  • Military / Cargo
  • Diesel
  • Small Craft
  • Other Government
  • Research

Type of Access:

  • Online
  • By Appointment
  • Written Request
  • Telephone Request
  • Email request



Megan Good, Director of Archives and Library

Phone: 215-413-8640


Independence Seaport Museum

211 South Columbus Blvd.

Philadelphia, PA 19106