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April 14, 2011

Remembering the Titanic

Today marks the ninety-ninth anniversary of the infamous passenger ship tragedy, RMS Titanic. This event is touching for me, as two weeks ago I spent time in the amazing Titanic Museum in Orlando, Florida, one of the largest Titanic exhibits in the world.

This particular museum is housed in rooms within rooms, all designed to give the visitor the sensation of actually being aboard the doomed vessel. From the docks (where the current fashions and news of the day are displayed), we moved on to boarding and met several of Titanic's famous passengers (biographies). We then slipped passed those famous beautiful doors and their iron scrollwork and found ourselves standing on Deck Two at the foot of the Grand Staircase. Looking up, even the replica chandelier was visible -- an awe-inspiring beauty.

Passages closed off the lower decks as we explored dining rooms, elaborate first class state rooms, the upper outside decks and night view, a boiler room, the bridge and of course, the radio room.

There was a special spirit in the museum, whether from the artifacts or the solemn placards and photographs trailing from one room to the next.

Another exhibit was an interesting collection of Titanic films through the ages with memorabilia from the last blockbuster hit featuring Kate Winslet and Leonard DiCaprio. Do you recognize the costume below? It's one of the actual outfits worn by DiCaprio.

The most poignant part of our tour came as the end drew near. We stood in a very cool room with its mock iceberg, made of actual ice, and stared at a nautical chart on the wall. There the planned route for the ship was marked. Just below that, a bold black line showed the actual route. Titanic took a late turn ten miles past the original planned coordinates. That ten mile difference, along with ignored warnings from other ships and insufficient preparation, led Titanic directly into the iceberg's path and to destruction. The significance gives one much to ponder.

One of the most infamous peacetime maritime disasters, the Titanic touches us with its series of unbelievable unfortunate events that led to the loss of over 1,500 people. It humbled Man who declared her unsinkable. It is a lesson that history should never forget.

Next year, the 100th anniversary of the sinking is planned to be commemorated around the world. I for one, will be watching closely.

~Danielle Thorne

Links of Interest:

Titanic Museum: http://titanictheexperience.com/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic

Below is my favorite artifact in the exhibit. This deck lounge chair was recovered within days after the sinking by a salvage ship. I spent a long time studying this teak chair and wondering about the last person who sat in it, relaxing as he or she watched the deep blue ocean slide alongside the world's first "unsinkable" ship.


Jillian said...

Wonderful post, Dani- great photos. I have a short story I wrote entitled "Sunday, April 14, 1912' inspired by the sinking of the ship. I hope your tour and your intrigue with the deck chair inspires you in some way!

Celia Hayes said...

I had a great-uncle who had been a sailor in his youth, and in 1912 he was working in the Wanamakers' Department store in New York - there was a radio recieving station on the top floor, which was one of the first to get the wireless news of the sinking. Supposedly, one of the managers came to my great-uncle and asked if it were possible, did he think that a huge modern ship like that could just sink. My gg-uncle played it very cagily, he just said "Well, could have."

StephB said...

Wow, Dani, great photos! Thanks so much for sharing and putting us in the museum right there with you.

Your reasons why the Titianic hit the iceberg resonate with all of us. It was a perfect storm of sorts, one that could have been avoided if they just would have paid attention.

Looking forward to next year's celebrations.


Traci said...

Great photos and story! The Titanic artifacts traveled to our museum and was on exhibit for quite some time, and we took our girls. On the tickets, they posted which passenger you were to represent while viewing the artifacts. At the end of the tour, you were able to look up your passenger name to see if you survived or not....I do not. :( It was a fun and neat experience to learn about, though.

Traci said...

haha I mean...I DID not! Oops...

Pat Dale said...

It's fascinating to learn more and more about that tragic voyage. Man continues to boldly go where he should not go, despite the lessons of history. For me, the most intriguing survivor of the Titanic was Molly Brown. She left a history of her very own in the annals of Colorado's past.
Happy researching and reading.
Pat Dale

B. J. Robinson said...

Beautiful pictures. I thought about the anniversary yesterday. Beautiful job on the blog. Blessings, BJ

Gabby said...

The photos are gorgeous! I must admit I didn't realize that the anniversary was yesterday until I saw this blog.

My brother was born on that same day so it kind makes me wonder what else happened on such a fateful day.

Anne Patrick said...

Awesome post, Dani. Loved the pics, especially the deck chair. Hummm...Could have been a writer sitting in it who'd just completed the greatest novel ever written and now it's sealed in a water proof container at the bottom of the ocean waiting for someone to discover it.

Destiny Booze, Novelist said...

What a great experience! Thanks for sharing!

Danielle Thorne said...

Thanks for dropping--and to clarify for BJ, the Titanic did hit the iceberg on the 14th, but sank after midnight, on the 15th.

Loved your story, Celia!

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you for the write-up and photos, Danielle. Your blog post really gives us the feel of visiting this museum.

The last survivor of the Titanic, Millvina Dean, died at age 97 in 2009. Now all those who escaped the disaster are with those who did not.

I'm looking forward to more of your blog entries.

Diane Craver said...

Thanks for sharing such wonderful pictures. So sad that they ignored the warnings and didn't follow the original route and went ten miles off - tragic mistakes.

Very interesting post with lots of facts.

Laura Fabiani said...

My husband and I saw the Titanic exhibit in Las Vegas last year and it sounds so similar to the one you saw in Florida with the reconstruction of the deck, the Grand Staircase, the iceberg and all. But the most amazing item was a piece of the ship they actually managed to bring up from the depths. All in all it was a very touching exhibit.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

My dad was born the month before the Titanic sank. Your blog was a wonderful memorial to those who lost their lives that night.

Judith Leger said...

Wonderful post, Danielle. Thank you so much for writing it. One day, I am going to visit the museum. The photos are great.

Nik said...

Thanks, Danielle. Poignant. And of course next year is the big anniversary... I had a Tarzan story planned, as it's his anniversary too, but nothing seems to have happened about my query to the ERB estate.

Gail Pallotta said...

What a fascinating day this was for you. Thanks for sharing it with us. I enjoyed seeing the photos and reading the post.