When I heard that we were going to visit the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. Admittedly, I was woefully ignorant about the vast majority of details surrounding the Titanic. I mean, I had seen the movie and a couple of documentaries, but I was definitely not an avid consumer of Titanic information and trivia…until I visited the Titanic Museum.
I have been to dozens upon dozens of museums in my life and the only other museum to move me as tremendously as the Titanic Museum was the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. The care with which this museum has been assembled cannot be overstated. I was literally blown away from the second we walked into the doors.
Following a wonderful breakfast (it was the hands down best meal of the trip), we were escorted to the entrance where each visitor was given a card containing the information of an actual Titanic passenger. The card contained enough information to intrigue you, but it withheld a very crucial detail – whether you survived. That information wasn’t known to you until you reached the memorial room where you would look for your person’s name on the wall.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. While the museum had a number of amazing and authentic artifacts, the focus was most definitely on the people aboard the Titanic. Each person has a story and the exhibits in this museum did an incredible job sharing so many of those stories.
Thinking back to my favorite parts of the museum, I’d have to say that the most lighthearted room was the special exhibit focusing on Titanic, the movie. The original script was there as were some of the costumes. I learned that Kate Winslet insisted on filming the water scene (after the ship had sank) in frigid waters to make the movie as authentic as possible.
Speaking of frigid waters, the most sobering of exhibits was a room created to mimic the conditions on the night that the Titanic hit the iceberg. When you step out onto the recreated deck, you are hit with a blast of cold air. Even more, you can reach your hand over the railing to see exactly what 28 degree water feels like. I tried to keep my hand in there as long as possible and I didn’t last 2 minutes. I can’t imagine being plunged into the ocean’s depths without knowledge or hope of rescue. Truly, it wasn’t until that exact moment that I really thought about how the passengers aboard the Titanic really felt.
As I made my way to the memorial room, lost in my own thoughts, I was grateful to see that the person given to me upon entering had survived. Even more, she had written a book about her experiences (which I’m looking forward to reading). But there were hundreds who didn’t survive and as I looked at their names along the memorial wall, I said a silent prayer on their behalf. What they had experienced that night was truly horrific, but in learning and sharing their stories, their legacy remains.
During my parents’ next visit, I will absolutely take them to the Titanic Museum. It is a gem and I am so thankful to have had the chance to experience it. Make sure you check it out the next time you visit the area -it is a beyond memorable experience.
*A big thanks goes out to everyone at the Titanic Museum. From the sponsored breakfast to the museum tour, it was a wonderful addition to Brandcation!