Friday, July 21, 2017

Titanic at the Reagan Library

2.37 miles under the surface of the ocean lies an unsinkable ship with incredible stories to tell.  The resting place of the Titanic is a sacred place.  The bodies of those that died that day still rest there.  The ship and its contents are frozen in time.  We have been to Titanic exhibits before but none like this one.  James Cameron is an explorer and a storyteller.  Much of what you see here is from detailed reproductions from the 1997 film Titanic.  No material was salvaged from the wreck site.  Some items we did see were those that survived the disaster and lived on to tell its story.  At over 10,000 sqft of exhibit space we can only show a peek at what is there to experience. 

This is the actual pressure sphere that Dr. Ballard, Ralph Hollis and Dudley Foster used to make the first dive to the Titanic in 1986. This pressurized sphere allowed Alvin to dive deep enough to land at the Titanic wreck site. This is helped by the sphere shape and the two inch thick walls to fight the pressures of having two miles of ocean water weigh in on you.  It is very dark there and Dr. Ballard is quoted as saying this.  "I'll never forget seeing the Titanic for the first time.  It's pitch black, and you don't see it until the last minute. It's as if someone pulls back the curtain.  It comes out of this black velvet void of nothingness." 

This carefully arranged debris field was made for the movie with attention to detail.  Time and ocean seafloor will uncover and cover the items below so it is an ever changing view.  Many things in this exhibit are from the movie and created with the same care to detail.  Jacks room was carefully reconstructed as were the suite rooms B52, B54 and B56 where Rose was staying. 

It's hard to even imagine what it would be like to look down on that wreck site.  They have built a scale model of what we might see and it is incredible.  There are also multiple pictures on the wall of Alvin's first view of the Titanic in its final resting place.

This deck chair survived the wreck of the Titanic because it was made of wood and it floated.  It is one of only seven in existence.  Many chairs were thrown off the boat to give survivors something to hold onto until help arrived.  Sadly it was the freezing temperatures of the water that would claim their lives instead of drowning. 

One of the most powerful stories from the Titanic is the story of the band that played on as the ship went down.  They played upbeat music to help calm the crowd.  As the ship went down it is reported that they ended with the hymn Nearer, My God, To Thee.  This is a display of the music personal items of Wallace Hartley, who was a musician on the ship.  His body was recovered as well as his violin case floating in the sea.  The hymn was played at his funeral, which drew in around 30,000 people to pay their respects. 

Titanic lifeboat replica.
A view inside the lifeboat replica. 
The Titanic carried sixteen wooden lifeboats and four canvas collapsibles, which could hold 1,178 people.  There were more than 2,200 people on board.  At the time the safety standards were based on the weight of the ship.  The original plans called for 64 lifeboats but 
that idea was scrapped so that they could use the space for something else on the unsinkable ship.  After the Titanic went down safety changes would be made that are in use today on the cruises we so love to take.  Lifeboat regulations would be based on passenger count instead of weight.  Lifeboat drills became required and all lifeboats were to be inspected regularly by trained employees.  Ships now monitor distress frequencies 24 hours a day and maintain constant contact with other ships and the shore.  It makes you wonder a bit how many lives would have been saved if these safety rules were in effect before the unsinkable Titanic would set off on their voyage. 

While this exhibit is only available until January 7th, 2018, there are other traveling exhibits as well.  Each can show you a slightly different view of the story being told.  This exhibit here is in the Ronald Reagan Library located in Simi Valley, California. 

I'll finish my post with this quote that I love so much. Thank you, and happy travels. 
❤ Misty

I am a storyteller; that's what exploration really is all about.  Going to places where others haven't been and returning to tell a story they haven't heard before.  - James Cameron 

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