A beautiful young lady greets us as we approach the one-of-a-kind, unsinkable, floating palace. She directs us to the ticket office where our party of three receives a first-class ticket for me, a second-class ticket for my teenager, and a third-class ticket for my husband.
We climb aboard the ship with our mouths agape at its sheer opulence. Valuable artwork, a grand piano, a grand staircase, crystal chandeliers, and oriental carpets contribute to the luxurious feeling. Even the third-class china looked nicer than the everyday dishes in my own kitchen cupboards.
Naturally, we get to know many of the other families aboard the ship as we slide through the Atlantic. The Astors, the Guggenheims, and the Strauses became more than names in a newspaper. And due to our family’s different ticket statuses, we also became friendly with Lawrence Beesly, the Laroches, the Deans, and many other families.
So, my family and I weren’t really passengers on the Titanic, but we did visit The Titanic Exhibit at The Natural Science Center in Greensboro, NC, last year. The interactive nature of the exhibit almost made me feel like I was there. In addition, the volume and variety of actual artifacts from the ship itself as well as from its passengers was amazing.
Not being a physicist, I had a hard time visualizing how the unsinkable ship could miss seeing an iceberg (hello, aren’t they, like, huge?) and then plunge so quickly below it. Luckily, the exhibit’s 3-D models and video simulation helped me to picture it. For those more scientifically minded (like my husband), more technical information was displayed as well.
So, the ship went down quickly, but the Carpathia was close by and should have been able to rescue many of the passengers hanging onto flotsam from the ship. But before they could be plucked out of the frigid water, many of them died from hypothermia. In order for us to fully (well, almost) appreciate the temperature of the water, The Titanic Exhibit included a large, solid wall of ice for us to feel. Sure enough, it was cold!
At the end of the exhibit was a large wall with an alphabetical list of the passengers that recorded their final fate. I was relieved to discover that my daughter and I (first- and second-class passengers) survived the sinking of the Titanic; however, we were dismayed that my husband did not make it. Having genuine, original names on our tickets and following their lives and lifestyles aboard the ocean liner made the passengers seem more real to us. After all, we had invested over an hour discovering them, only to find out that they didn’t all survive.
Touring The Titanic Exhibit was almost as good as touring the actual palace itself.
Bethany LeBedz is a veteran homeschooler, professional editor, writer, and speaker. Her business website is www.bethanylebedz.com. Bethany contributes regularly to Heart of the Matter Online, has a regular column in the Home School Enrichment magazine, and occasionally writes for other magazines, websites, and newsletters. She lives in North Carolina with her family, where she enjoys music, reading, scrapbooking, sewing, genealogy, and keeping up with friends in her spare time. Be sure to follow her popular blog, Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom, at www.bethanylebedz.blogspot.com.