Thursday, July 15, 2010

Titanic Museum

A decade back, I was totally moved by a movie which portrayed a passionate love story, which recreated the Romeo and Juliet magic in an enormous ship. A movie which won all the possible awards and also became the most acclaimed movie of that year. I must have watched that movie countless number of times and I could still recollect some of the beautiful dialogues in that movie. A movie which stole some million hearts around the world and to umpteen number of lovers it was their moment in a ship and they also promised each other to be "Jack and Rose" in their lifetime. It was purely a James Cameron's incredible craft and the movie was Titanic. And here I am, after more than a decade standing in front of the grand ship, a replica of Titanic in Branson, Missouri.

It was a beautiful long drive from Texas to Branson, which we took last weekend. This world largest Titanic museum was a massive and half scale version of the original ship. Water sprayed from her bow, realistic looking iceberg at her side are well depicted here. We were greeted by the costumed crew members and was given a boarding pass written in the name of an original passenger who traveled in the ship in 1912. Only at the end of our voyage, in the memorial room gallery we came to understand that whether the person in the boarding pass survived or not on the night of the disaster.

The whole place was so realistically recreated and it was like walking in the real Titanic and hearing its entire story. The exhibits showcased some of the finest moments in the ship, some of them are letters written during her maiden voyage, her passenger's belongings, deck chair, life jacket, photographs, dinner menu card, the grand staircase, the luxurious first class room, the simple third class cabin, abundance information about the ship, so on. Going through the exhibit was very touching moment and we felt like we stepped back in time. This museum has the pride to own the most accurate model of Titanic, which is 18 feet long and took two years to built by an Englishman.

The Grand staircase in the museum was a magnificent replica which definitely showed the luxurious ambiance the Titanic carried on water. It brought back the memory of Rose meeting Jack at the clock in the movie. It was such a splendid staircase and walking on it was really a 'Jack and Rose' moment for us. It was such a breath taking structure and it will never wind up from my memory anytime.

Just by going through the artifacts in this fabulous museum, I realized the incredible work put down by the director Mr. James Cameron in the movie. He really is an master craftsman. He had done a perfect job in recreating the enormous ship with all the minute details. And to my surprise most of the incidents he showed in that movie were all really happened on that night when the ship went down under water. Let me list the few below.

On April 14, 1912 at 12:45 AM, Titanic's first starboard lifeboat was lowered into the water. Sadly, it held barely half its capacity of sixty four passengers.

When everyone in the ship realized that their final hours is approaching, the Titanic's bandmaster Wallace Hartley along with few brave musicians played songs to calm the passengers until the final plunge.

When ordered to get into a lifeboat, a woman named Ida refused and stepped aside, holding her husband's hand tightly.

The first preference of getting into a lifeboat was given only to woman and children but the President of White Star Line, J. Bruce Ismay sneaked into one of these life boats, which forever earned him a bad name, "J. Brute Ismay".

The two survivors Lucy and Sir Cosmo were the only two passengers who were called to testify for the accusations of bribery on that crucial night. They promised five pounds sterling to every lifeboat passenger to prevent its return to the site of the disaster.

A woman named Margaret Brown who was in the lifeboat no. 6 fought with the commander, even threatened to throw him overboard, for refusing to go back to seek survivors.

When the ship went down, nearing death from hypothermia, a man named Fitzpatrick blew his scout whistle and attracted lifeboat 12 and he survived.

It was all a scattered real life incidents and Mr. Cameron was brilliant to put together and came up with a wonderful script. Hats off to him.

It was such a memorable moment for me to go through the exhibit and I felt emotional by visualizing such an enormous, luxurious and thought to be unsinkable ship went down under water in her maiden voyage claiming thousand lives. Fate had cruelly sealed the lives of so many people and also the grand ship.

I am going to learn more about Titanic, her passengers and their final hours soon, through books written on her. Will keep you posted on that. Please take a look at the video below to have a glimpse of the museum. No photography was allowed inside the museum and these pictures are taken from the museum website.

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