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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Step Back in Time with The Titanic

This week our family was visiting Branson, Mo.  We do this every year with my husbands entire family and for the last several years we have wanted to visit one particular attraction.  As a homeschool family we love history and when we can see, touch, or feel that history it’s even better. 

History comes alive when you can bring it into your everyday life.  This exhibit does just that.   I am still crazy excited about it!  I want to go again.  Right now!

What’s got me so excited? 

Oh, let me tell you!  It’s The Titanic exhibit in Branson.  I have been trying to figure out how to get the family there for a while and this year we were all old enough to enjoy it.  Woohoo! 

And enjoy it we did.  For over two hours!  We would have stayed longer but we had plans in the evening we had to leave for.  It is that good.

When you first arrive, okay when you are down the block you see the ship.  It is beautiful.  But, when you pull up in the parking lot you notice the entrance.  The front of the ship is in water with a flame at the edge.  There is a plaque dedicated to all who lost their lives that fateful day. 

When you reach the awning you are greeted by people dressed in period costumes.  They give you a boarding pass that has the name and information of a real person aboard the Titanic.  You get their history and find out whether they were in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd class or part of the Crew.  That boarding pass represents who you are as you tour the ship. 

After checking in you are immediately greeted by a comparison photo of the Titanic and other landmarks.  The Titanic wins hands down!  Next is an iceberg.  You can actually put your hands on the ice!  The experience was amazing right from the start.

The next room is a 1:48 model.  This model is beautiful.  The details are phenomenal with a mirror overhead so you can see the top as well.  All along this room and elsewhere in the exhibit are glass etchings of people aboard with quotes from them.  They are a haunting reminder of the trauma they went through and the strength of their character.

Next is the section dedicated to the dogs aboard.  Yes, dogs!  It was a fun treat to see the dogs-real live dogs were there.  Of course my girls were in love instantly.  We had no idea that dogs were aboard. 

Now, I could go room by room but that would be entirely too long of a post.  I could believe me; but you might get bored!  So, I’ll do a highlights reel. 

First up was the Third Class accommodations.  There is an actual replica of a Third Class bunk room.  While it was bigger and better equipped in years past it was still very small.  Four bunks, a sink, and just enough room to walk in and turn around.  Yup, small.  There were pictures and stories all along the way on the walls and in display cases.  Every where you turn you see more information about the people, the ship, and the times.  News clippings drive home the realness of the events and people.   The entire Third Class section was eye opening for our girls.  They didn’t understand why someone would be treated differently just because they had less money. 

Second Class accommodations were a step up.  The dishes and menus were incredible.  Even the menu for Third Class had my girls salivating but Second Class was even better. 

We got to see the Marconi Room where the CQD was sent from, the coal furnaces, the bridge, interactive gallery, and the Father Browne Gallery.  This exhibit is worth it for this gallery alone.  There are so many pictures of the ship and the people that I almost felt like I knew them and was there.  There is information accompanying each picture so you get the whole picture, so to speak.  It is amazing, truly amazing.

Before we went up to First Class we got to go out into the night sky, stand on deck and gaze up at the stars.  (inside of course!)  It was chilly.  Our girls imagined how cold it might have been to actually stand on the deck aboard the Titanic.  We were transported back to 1912 even more.

To get to First Class we had to ascend the Grand Staircase.  I could just imagine myself in a beautiful ball gown, my arm draped on the arm of my dashing husband as we move to the dining hall.  It was utterly gorgeous. 

The First Class room accommodations were vastly different from Third Class.  It was another lesson for our girls.  After seeing First Class they said they wouldn’t want to go back to Third Class!  Another must see for the First Class section is the room with the place servings, the silver, and other items from First Class.  All of them are beautifully displayed to be seen from all sides. 

Beyond all the pieces to look at you see the faces and read about the lives of the passengers.  I think this is the most poignant of everything in the exhibit.  These were people with families and lives that were lost.  Everywhere you turn you see those lives and get to know them.  You come to care about them. 

By the end of your journey you are met with a wall that has a list of all the passengers and crew.  They are separated into their classes; some are underlined, some are not.  The ones that are underlined are the survivors.  Four of our six survived.  Later we were able to find out about their lives after the sinking.  This was especially helpful for our tender-hearted girls to know that some went on to lead happy, successful lives. 

Along the way was historical footage of the building of the ship and then later on footage of finding the wreckage.  All lending to the awe of the event. 

I can not recommend this exhibit enough.  It was touching, historical, informative, and enthralling.  We all learned something new and are chomping at the bit to get home to study the Titanic some more!  While this is an interactive exhibit with the listening devices provided to you-don’t bring your cameras.  No pictures may be taken inside the exhibit. 

I can’t begin to tell you about everything there is to see in this exhibit.  You just have to see it for yourself.  It is wonderful!  I know we will be back because there is too much to absorb the first time around and you just have to read/see it all.  At least I do.  I want to go back already!  We will be talking about this for a long time to come.

The next time you are in Branson, make plans to spend some time at The Titanic.  For information on tickets, visit their website.

**I was given admittance into the exhibit for my family in exchange for my honest review.  Even if we had paid to get in my review would have been the same-it is completely worth the cost!

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