One of my fondest memories from childhood is standing around the piano at a friend's house singing the Titanic song, "It was Sad." (not the song that was used in the movie) We had lots of talented musicians among our friends, but somehow this folk song got a little hammier every time we sang it.
The song, though, fueled my interest in the Titanic, so when the exhibit came to Atlanta this year, the 100th anniversary of the tragedy, I wanted to go.
I found half-price tickets, rounded up a nephew and my husband, and off we went on our own voyage.
We were given boarding passes, with the name and some information about an actual passenger, at the beginning of the tour. Next we had our photo taken against a green screen that would show us on the grand staircase. (The picture was AWFUL. We would NEVER have been allowed on the Grand Staircase!)
Then we stepped through the door to the exhibit, which follows the ship from idea through construction to the salvage efforts that have brought the exhibit artifacts to the surface.
It opens with information and photos about the design and construction of the ship--how long it took, the materials used, the amount of labor involved. I loved the stories about the people: the shipbuilders and designers, many of whom ended up on the first voyage and didn't make it back.
Next the voyage itself, including stories about the rich folks in first class, including the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown and Isidor and Ida Straus from Georgia. Stories about the captain, it was to be his last voyage before retiring, crew members and ordinary people who ended up on this extraordinary ship because of a coal shortage (a strike) that shut down other ships.
The exhibit also showed a replica of a first class stateroom, which, while very nice, was not worth the $53,000 it would cost in today's dollars! The boiler room replica made it easy to imagine the heat the men in charge of fueling the ship would have endured. And the ice burg, made out of some kind of plastic, was FREEZING cold to the touch.
At the end, a list of passengers, divided into survivors and those who perished, allows you to see if the name on your boarding pass survived. All three of us, including my passenger, Mrs. Edward Ford, died.
The exhibit is a combination of stories, jewels and other more ordinary items brought up from the wreck, videos, photos and information about the ship itself that will appeal to anyone who has any sort of interest in the Titanic.