If you’re intrigued with the story of the Titanic, then don’t miss the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The museum tells the entire story of the Titanic from the days of construction in Belfast, Ireland to the tragic voyage, to its discovery on the ocean floor to recovery efforts that are still underway.
As visitors enter, everyone is given a boarding pass with the name of an actual passenger or crewmember with a biography of that person. Some guests will learn of the given person along the galleries of the museum. In the Titanic Memorial Room, all visitors will find out whether their passenger survived or perished.
The well laid out museum houses over 400 original artifacts in twenty galleries. These artifacts were gathered gradually from a wide variety of sources. After that tragic night, passing ships would pick up items floating in the water around the wreckage site. Many items washed ashore for a period of over two years after its sinking. Still other artifacts are on loan from families whose lives where impacted by this event or from museums around the world.
As you make your way around the museum, everything under glass is an actual artifact from the Titanic. Pieces of the actual staircase, a Third Class Passenger’s luggage, china from First Class, a telegram sent home with a simple message – safe, and so much more can be seen here.
Built directly from blueprints from the original ship, visitors can experience the first-class grand staircase. Linoleum was the high-end flooring at the time and it covered the grand staircase. The definition of what constitutes quality flooring has certainly changed over the years.
Ascend the first class grand staircase to gaze upon a replica of a first class stateroom. It’s definitely a glorious suite, but interestingly not all first class passengers had their own private bathroom. Also, visitors can peek into a replica of a third-class cabin where passengers slept in bunk beds and shared a single sink.
Near the end of the museum, you can place your hand in 28-degree water – the actual temperature of the ocean water the night the Titanic sank. Test your endurance and see how long you can keep your hand in the freezing water – typically only a few seconds. Then, imagine what the passengers and crewmembers that were tossed into the extremely cold waters experienced that fateful night.
Discovery & Recovering
Peruse the last gallery to learn about the discovery of the Titanic in 1985 by world-renowned deep Sea Explorer, Robert Ballard. Even today, recovery efforts are being made from that tragic site on the ocean floor, with divers still retrieving items from the Titanic. Just in 2012, a child’s shoe was recovered and through DNA testing, scientists were able to track it to a young boy who perished on that tragic night.
Good to Know
The self-guided tour with interactive exhibits should take approximately two hours. You will encounter several staff members who haven taken on the role of an actual passenger dressed in period costumes and role-playing their character’s life story – it really brings history to life. Staff are also very knowledgeable, so don’t be shy, ask questions. Over 300 descendants have visited the museum and they all agree, it’s a great dedication to their families.
For more information, check out titanicpigeonforge.com.