Houston Museum of Natural Science

Secrets from a Watery Grave: USS Houston and HMAS Perth by Alexis Catsambis

Thursday, Mar. 2, 2017 – Thursday, Mar. 2, 2017

06:30 PM

In the early morning of March 1, 1942, under a clear sky and a full moon, the Japanese Imperial navy sank the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth in the battle of Sunda Strait. During the battle, 696 US sailors and marines aboard the Houston and 375 Australian sailors aboard the Perth, including the captains of both ships, lost their lives. Forced into captivity, the survivors became part of the group of men who built the bridge on the River Kwai. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of this tragedy, Dr. Alexis Catsambis of Naval History and Heritage Command will recount the story of the battle and the efforts to preserve the physical and human remains at this sacred spot. As a researcher Catsambis has participated in several dives to both ships.


Maritime archaeologist Dr. Alexis Catsambis holds degrees from the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University and the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham, UK. Alexis serves the Naval History & Heritage Command as an archaeologist and cultural resource manager, providing for the stewardship, research conservation, and curation of the U.S. Navy's sunken craft and associated artifacts.

This event is cosponsored by AIA, Houston Society and HMNS with support from Schlumberger. This lecture is in conjunction with the Julia Ideson Library who is presenting the special exhibition Guardians of Sunda Strait: the Wartime Loss of HMAS Perth and USS Houston.


  • Monday - Sunday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Summer Hours, starting June 1st: Free Thursdays: 6-9 pm (with the exception of June 21st – no free hours that day).
  • Members $12, Tickets $18

Directions & Parking

  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Parking is available in our 6-story garage located on Caroline just south of Hermann Drive. Parking is just $5 for Museum members $10 for nonmembers with Museum ticket stub and $20 for all others. Some curbside parking is available near the Museum entrance and in Hermann Park.

Special Offers / Dining

The Museum offers easy access to a quick meal at McDonald's in the Grand Entry Hall. Open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. McDonald's also offers the option to pre-order meals for field trips.

Please note: Food and beverages are not allowed inside the Museum exhibit halls or theaters.

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