The Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum promotes Savannah's maritime history through its many artifacts and artwork on display. These include paintings, maritime antiques, and several scale models of ships related to Savannah, including the SS Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The museum is located in the 1818 William Scarbrough House, a National Historic Landmark and one of the first examples of Greek Revival architecture in the country. English-born architect William Jay designed the house. Only a few of his buildings have survived, a fact that gave further impetus to designate the home as a National Landmark.
William Scarbrough was a wealthy ship merchant and became one of the principal investors of the SS Savannah. His status earned him other positions such as bank director and manager of elections. Unfortunately, the venture into the ship ultimately failed and as a result in 1820 Scarbrough lost his money, the house and his health deteriorated. The home was in private hands until the late 1870s when it was sold to the city and became a public school. This lasted until the 1960s. At this point the house was in bad shape and underwent a restoration in the 1970s. There was a brief period of vacancy after that before the house was bought by the museum and restored and expanded in mid 1990s.