Titanic: 100 Years Later - The Artifact Exhibition' in Las Vegas, Nevada
The Experience of a Lifetime
On June 4, 2005, my oldest daughter and I had the opportunity to attend...
'Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition' in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The experience was awe-inspiring and very emotional for both of us. It's so realistic that you find yourself holding your breath, almost afraid to go into the next room.
It alternates between replicas of different areas of the ship and rooms displaying artifacts that have been brought up from the two-mile debris field surround the wreckage of the Titanic. It is a vivid testament to the ship of dreams, and those who lost their lives that cold April night almost 100 years ago.
Before entering the exhibit itself, each person is issued a boarding pass giving the name of an actual Titanic passenger, and some details of that passenger's life and voyage. From that point on you are part of the experience.
Brooke and I got lucky, as we just happened to stumble on the exhibition while we were looking for something to do. At the time, her younger brother and sister weren't interested, but they have regretted that decision since. It is now housed at the Luxor, and we are hoping to once again travel to Las Vegas to see it, this time as a whole family.
Our experiences there will never be forgotten, and we were truly blessed to see such an up-close and very personal reminder of the tragedy that befell the R.M.S. Titanic.
Update April 2012 we will visit again in honor of the 100th anniversary, in fact we are there right now! Stay tuned!!!
Becoming Part of the Experience
The first room you enter in the exhibit is dark, with a single spotlight shining on a brass portal. The glass was broken in a cross pattern. As you stand in front of that portal reflecting on the events that happened that night, chills run down your spine.
It's the perfect way to set the mood for the experience you are about to undertake.
Turning, you open a door and enter into a perfect replica of the first class hallway. My daughter slipped her hand into mine, and whispered "Mommy..." Neither of us was able to move.
The moment was that powerful. We both had to take a deep breath and force ourselves to move on.
As you progress from room to room in the exhibit, one room a museum-style display, the next a detailed replica of different areas of the ship, you view a variety of items, some from the ship herself and others belonging to passengers, with common items like tea cups in pristine condition, and a diamond bracelet that spells out the name "Amy."
Each room you enter takes you deeper into the Titanic experience. Some rooms have the sounds of water hitting the hull of the ship, others have soft music playing.
Along with replicas of many different types of rooms available to passengers, from the luxury of first class to the clean, simple, dormitory-style steerage rooms, you can also take a stroll on the promenade deck, visit the boiler rooms, and stand at the foot of a third class stairwell behind a very somber locked gate.
The later rooms take on a grim tone, even presenting you with a "real" iceberg you can place your hand on as you read about the final moments of the ships sinking. The whole room had a chill, but just trying to keep your hand on that iceberg as long as you you can is difficult, imagining your whole body with no escape.
One of the final items you will also see is a display of plates nestled in the sand almost exactly how they were found, stacked so neatly that they appear to have been placed that way intentionally. The cabinet that held them was long ago claimed by the forces of nature, and only the plates remained.
There are many items that will stop you in your tracks, but none so telling as the gigantic piece of the ship's hull that stands at the center of one of the last rooms: a fifteen ton, 15' x 30' portion that took two attempts to raise.
For Titanic Lovers
There are many fascinating items available in the gift shop, so don't pass it by. You can buy actual coal that was onboard the Titanic when she sank, replicas of several items from the exhibit including the Amy bracelet, and a photo book that contains pictures of the items you saw during the exhibit, and the stories behind them.
You can also buy numerous books and games that will give you even more information about the Titanic and her many stories.
If you can't get enough Titanic, the computer game "Titanic - Adventure Out of Time" was made for you. Though the game itself is entertaining enough, you get to walk through the entire ship from the deck to the boiler and storage rooms below.
They painstakingly recreated rooms, décor, and even textures on fabric to be as authentic as possible. The game isn't too hard, but it is one of those where you can miss a step and make the game impossible to complete, so be careful!
You play a spy who failed a mission and was left disgraced on the night of the sinking. You are given the opportunity to go back in time and correct your mistakes. You can talk to the passengers and crew, and many times have to locate a specific object to get the information you need.
The book '1912 Facts About the Titanic' is filled with even more information, from the personal stories of each passenger on board to facts about the ship, her crew, her cargo, and how events transpired from the building of the grand ship to the aftermath of the tragedy.
There are many myths regarding the Titanic, but the research that went into this book is impeccable. No matter how much you think you already know, you are bound to find a few details you were unaware of in these pages.
If you happen to attend the Titanic Exhibition, you might also get lucky and get your copy signed by the author as we did!
Gone, but not Forgotten
There are many moments of that day still fresh in my mind. After having played the video game and seen so many of the movies, I discovered there were still many things I did not know about the Titanic.
Though the story has been told so many times that it almost seems like it has become more fiction than fact, when you stand in front of a tea cup that was only used a few times, or your look at those beautiful fixtures that were only seen by a handful of individuals who lived to tell the story, the Titanic forever becomes a part of you.
Finally, you stand before a list of passengers, those who lived and those who died. With your boarding pass in hand you carefully search the names and hold your breath. My daughter and I had names of survivors, the two men next to us did not.
'Titanic: The Artifact Exhibiton' is now located at the Luxor in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you plan to vacation in Vegas anytime soon, please try to attend. It is one experience you will never forget.
You can obtain tickets at TitanicTix.com
Are Recovery Efforts Proper?
The debate has raged since the Titanic was rediscovered as to whether or not these items should be brought to the surface. The recovery crews have agreed that none of the items recovered will be sold to the public, with one exception: the massive amounts of coal scattered around the wreckage. It is packaged in small pieces and sold to fund further recovery efforts.
You will find some Titanic items for sale from private owners, but those items either belonged to survivors or were recovered as salvage in the days after the sinking. Yet some people feel it is a very sensitive subject.
Some maintain that it is a grave site, and bringing the items to the surface is no more than graverobbing. They feel the items should be allowed to remain.
Others point out that the Titanic is collapsing fast and those items that can be salvaged should be restored and displayed for future generations.
Do you think recovery efforts should continue?