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Today in Titanic History - with Searching
Today in
Titanic History

Friday, July 12, 2024
1941 - 1st class survivor Mrs Malvina Helen Cornell died in New York, USA at the age of 84.

1972 - 2nd class survivor Miss Kate Buss died of heart failure / disease in Independence, Oregon, USA at the age of 96.

1892 - 3rd class passenger Mr Peter Andreas Lauritz Andersen Sřholt was born.

1911 - 3rd class survivor Miss Helene Barbara Baclini was born to Solomon Baclini and Latifa Qurban Baclini.

1924 - 3rd class survivor Mr Neshan Krekorian married Persa Vartanian, who was not on the Titanic.

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Mercado (Orlando)
by Shelly

Ahoy mates! I just returned from an amazing trip back in time, sailing on the maiden voyage of the grandest ship in the world - Titanic! Well, all right, not really. But I did the only thing this modern day, land loving gal can do. I visited the "Titanic: Ship of Dream" exhibition in Orlando, Florida this summer.

The exhibit is tucked away inside the Mercado shopping center on International Drive, the heart of Orlando tourism. You would never guess from the rustic Spanish architecture of the buildings that it houses the first permanent collection of historical artifacts from the doomed British ship.

There were six people traveling in our party: my three children, my mother, my good friend, Holly and me. When purchasing our tickets, we were each assigned an identity, the identity of a person who actually sailed on the ship. A first class steward, dressed in his formal best, greeted us at the entrance and brought us aboard in grand style. We were ushered into a small room that told us of the planning and building stages of Titanic, and given a short speech from Mr. Bruce Ismay himself. (All right, you caught me again. It was merely an actor portraying Mr. Ismay.)

Next, we entered the busy shipyard where Titanic was being outfitted. The steward turned us over to one of the yard workers who told us a bit about the ship's lavish appointments. After that, we were on our own to explore. From there, we entered the ticket agency and loading docks in Southampton, greeted by several authentic-looking passengers, dressed in the attire of that day. Looking up, we were in awe at the giant wall of the ship rising above us. And with a little imagination, it felt as if we were actually boarding the great ship.

We entered a large room, filled with artifacts, pictures and diagrams. We saw a full-sized replica of a first class suite with a sofa and a fireplace that looked very similar to the one in which Jack drew Rose's picture. After spending some time listening to Mr. Thomas Andrews, with notepad in hand, share interesting details about the ship, we moved into the Verandah Café, the location of the lunch scene where Rose makes the great "Dr. Freud" comment. And from there, we took in the Grand Staircase. It was worth the entire visit just to see its magnificence! And there, we also saw Molly Brown, sharing facts about the staircase's design and construction.

We moved on. There were many rooms filled with interesting items - hand-written letters, clothing, dishes, and luggage, things that had been recovered from the wreckage. The soundtrack from the film played in the background during our journey. It was a very emotional experience, but we weren't prepared for what was to come.

We entered the cargo area, featuring the back end of the Renault. I couldn't resist the temptation of standing on the bumper to get a look inside. But the windows were blacked out, in the name of privacy, I guess. We continued through the cargo area and entered a darkened room with a large chunk of ice that covered the entire length of the long wall. It was an actual piece of ice, at least thirty feet in length and more than six feet tall, shaped in the jagged form of an iceberg. Computer-generated footage of the ship hitting the iceberg and sinking played continuously on television monitors above us. In the middle of the room stood the ship's wheel, and behind sat the telegraph operations area and water-tight door lights. It was very dramatic, but the most intense experience was still ahead of us.

We stepped through double doors onto the freezing cold deck of the ship. In front of us there was nothing but a dark ocean and a sky filled with stars, with an occasional flash of light from the rescue flares. In the background, we heard the voices of the passengers saying their tearful good-byes as the women were lowered in the lifeboats. My children were terribly frightened, crying and begging us to get them out of there. We didn't stay there long. It was very moving for all of us, as we got just a small feel for what the actual passengers had gone through.

Next came another very emotional time as we saw pictures of all the memorials and tombstones of those who had perished. A list of all the actual passengers hung on the wall, engraved in a huge glass monument. It was here that we were able to locate our "assigned" identities to see if we would have lived or died on that fateful night. My mother and my friend, Holly, were first class passengers who survived the ordeal. However, my three children and I were steerage passengers who died. That made a powerful and lasting impression on us as well, reinforcing the cruel reality of the event.

Ending on a lighter note, we entered a gallery that paid tribute to all the films and books that have been made about the Titanic, the biggest and best, of course being James Cameron's. The outfit that Leonardo DiCaprio wore in the film was located in this area, along with many pictures and a television playing highlights from the movie. Then came the gift shop. I think we spent as much time here as we did in the exhibit itself. It was an exceptional collection of beautiful items, especially the jewelry designed after many of the pieces worn in the film. I bought my daughter a small replica of the "Heart of the Ocean" necklace. For my own souvenir, I bought a coffee mug. Yes, I'm the last of the big spenders.

In no way did I cover everything there is to see in this exhibit. That would be impossible because I just can't remember it all. But I hit the high points for you. The real joy is in seeing it for yourself. I encourage you to do just that. Here's the link to the website about the exhibit:

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