Post by Jamie Rhein. Photos courtesy of the Titanic Museum.
First, you can’t miss it. Shaped like the Titanic, the iconic mail and passenger ship that met its demise on an iceberg in 1912, the museum takes guests on a journey through the ship’s history. From the ship’s blueprints, to newspaper articles about its glory, to the famous passengers on board, it’s a jam-packed story.
It’s a story of opulence, pride, class structure, human error, feats of bravery, high drama, tragedy and triumph rolled into one.
The Titanic museum takes on the story with intricate detail and through all angles.
This is one of those well done museums designed to hook one in at the front door. From there, costumed interpreters set the scene. Then, they are at every point throughout the museum answering questions and adding authenticity.
At certain points, displays show what certain parts of the Titanic looked like. There’s a mock-up of a third class cabin and a first class suite. There’s a replica of the grand staircase with its magnificent dome ceiling above it.
At one point,water rushes down a ship’s passageway and a staircase.
One of the most chilling displays, literally and figuratively, is of the iceberg the ship hit. The iceberg mock-up is paired with a replica of the captain’s bridge.
Step outside the bridge into what feels like the cold night air. Water at a temperature of 28-degrees under a starry sky is there to touch. Touch the iceberg and imagine what the crew felt as they saw it looming ahead and thought of doom.
The ship’s design and outcome is only a part of the museum’s treasures. Several passengers are highlighted along the way. Replica items and narration create the sense of the real people who traveled in luxury, as well as, those whose passage was on the humble end.
Some like Father Francis Browne, a Jesuit priest, have their own displays dedicated to them. Father Browne’s display is a room filled with his black and white photos of the ship and its passengers. They are among the few that chronicle the Titanic’s maiden voyage before its demise.
Browne got off the ship in Queenstown, England, thus saving this treasure trove of images.
As you walk through, reading the signage and looking at the displays, you carry a card that represents a Titanic passenger.
At the end of the museum, you find out if you were one of the lucky ones rescued from the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.
I was Lucy, Countess of Rothes, a 1st class passenger from London, England. I survived.
So many didn’t. One of the last displays names each passenger in each class and tells who survived and who lost their lives on that fateful night.
As for the museum’s sticker price, the $26 for adults might seem hefty, but the scope and care taken into this multi-sensory experience makes for a worthwhile journey.
The story of the Titanic is riveting for a reason. It’s haunting and intriguing. If you’re in Pigeon Forge, this is one place that’s worth the stop.