Thursday, April 2, 2009

milwaukee museum

as promised, i wrote earlier last weekend, that i would share what the fam and i did over the weekend. the kids are titanic nuts- they've pored over countless books about the titanic. we missed the last exhibit in chicago, so when the titanic exhibit made it's way to milwaukee we jumped at the opportunity.

when you arrive at the beginning of the exhibit, you receive a white star line pass to "board" the titanic. i learned a couple of new things that day; one being that one first class tickets cost about $4000, the equivalent of $69,000 today. holy dang...that was a lot of money. i also didn't know that a lot of passengers (who were scheduled to board other white star line ships), in an unlucky twist of fate, were transferred to the titanic because of a coal strike.

the neat thing about the boarding pass is that on the other side, it has the name of a passenger who was on the titanic. there are facts about each passenger, where they were originally from, where they were traveling to, their class, age and family. throughout the exhibit, it was interesting to watch people "own" their ticket. they would say things to their companions such as, "who are you?" and "i am so and so; i'm in the second class." and "i'm going to _______."

lana recieved the boarding pass of lady lucy duff-gordon from london, england. she was thrilled that "madame lucille" was a famous fashion designer who traveled to her businesses in paris, london, ny and chicago. did you know that she coined the word "chic"? above, is a photo of madam lucille looking very chic, holding a very cute dog.

keith had the ticket of an 18 year old from the u.k. named percy andrew bailey and fordy had the ticket of a male named frank thomas andrew, both who were in second class and making new lives for themselves in the states. as for myself, i held the boarding pass of mrs. stephen hold (annie margaret hill) from england. she was 36 years old and traveling back to her home in sacramento. it was interesting that i would receive a boarding pass of a lady who was the same age as myself and also traveling to my home state of california.

there were many artifacts in the exhibit, like a toothpaste well, leather suitcase, money, watches and even perfume in their original vials, which supposedly you were able to still smell. see the plates all lined up in a row at the bottom of the sea? the same dishes were displayed in the exhibit, looking as brand-spanking new as the day they were placed in the kitchen cabinets of the titanic. being in the same room with all these objects, many still intact, was humbling.

in the last room, there was a large list on the wall that organized all of the titanic's passengers by class and then further separated by who survived and who perished that fateful night. the discrepancy between what class they were in and how it influenced who survived and who didn't, was staggering. lady duff-gordon survived as did mrs. annie hold. mr. bailey and mr. andrews, who were of course men and second class passengers to boot, did not.

in all, 706 passengers survived and 1517 passengers died. when you take in account that these passengers had families who loved them and many had bright hopes for the future, it really hits you.

if you ever get the chance to experience this exhibit, i hope that you will. i know that we were happy that we took the time to go. of course now this has resparked the titanic craze in our house, so you can only guess what we're going to watch tonight?


  1. We went to a similar museum in Washington, but it was the Holocaust Museum. And, yeah, when they give you a passport with a picture that describes a real person who went through what you're only seeing, it sure does hit you. It's good to be reminded in ways that have a lasting impression.

  2. hi claudia, i agree with you; it makes events in history more meaningful. i'd like to take the kids to the holocaust museum one day. maybe when they are a little older so they can appreciate it more. thanks for visiting- i hope you have a great weekend :)