I've always been fascinated by the tragedy of the RMS Titanic. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking and many of us pause to remember the great ship, dramatic stories of that fateful night, and the passengers and crew who lost their lives.
My daughter, Katie, is very much like me. She loves history and sometimes feels like she was born in the wrong time. For example, she loves old Hollywood musicals and is happiest in her room listening to albums of musicals on her record player. She has an "old soul" as someone once said.
Katie and I watched Titanic on DVD a few years ago. Then she watched it again, again, and again. It is a great movie and Academy-award winner. The blend of historical fact, human drama and the fictional love story of Jack and Rose make it a very entertaining film. Seeing the actual wreck and seeing the ship brought to life with state-of-the-art SFX is dazzling. This year Katie got a chance to see it with me in 3D on the big screen.
Awhile back I got a great deal on a museum-quality 1:350 scale replica model kit of the Titanic. I wanted to build it for Katie and the 100th anniversary of the sinking seemed like the right timing.
I started in the late Summer of 2011. This was no easy build. The instructions were 65 pages long. The kit includes photo-etch parts - something I have rarely worked with as a scale modeler. There was also a lot of rigging - a lot - and instructions to do this along the way. I had monofilament thread all over the place. Of course, I had my share of "goobers" as I call them (when I mess up). It took me 4-months to complete the model. It turned out better than I expected. I visited many websites about making the model and what paint to use for accuracy and scale effect. It all paid off. Katie now has something she can treasure and it looks impressive at 3' long on a shelf in her room.
I also do Photoshop. With some digital magic, I put Katie on the bow of the Titanic at sea, arms spread and "flying" just like Rose.
More model shots (complete with dog in the background)
Sorry...couldn't resist this one. RMS Titanic and USS Missouri BB-63
A few years later, I made a 1:700 Titanic with a LED light kit.
In July, 2012, our family visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science. We got tickets for Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.
We could not take pictures in the exhibit but I found some on the internet. We were very impressed with the exhibit. Upon entering the exhibit, you get a Boarding Pass with a profile of a passenger aboard the Titanic. Katie was Mrs. Sebastiano del Carlo, age 24. She was married two months earlier in Lucca, Italy. She and her husband we planning to move to California to start a new life. They were 2nd class passengers.
As anticipated, the exhibit included many precious artifacts recovered from the wreck site. It recreated sections of the ship including the boiler room, staterooms, crew quarters and passageways. Throughout parts of the exhibit you could hear the muffled sound of the ships engines. The most moving section included clothing and personnel effects from luggage retrieved from the bottom of the ocean. A long list of the survivors and victims covered one wall. Katie learned that she survived the sinking but her young husband did not.
Katie had her own money and bought an assortment of replicas of documents associated with the Titanic. I've scanned and included some examples below.
It was a fasinating exhibit and respectful of the tragedy it showcases. The ocean will one day completely consume the wreck and everything down there will no longer exist. In one room, you find a small section of Titanic's hull in a glass case. There is a small hole in the top and you can touch the ship. It is striking how feeling something like this can have such an emotional impact. It was the Titanic.
We found out the exhibit is in Ft. Worth in the Fall of 2012. If you can see this exhibit, we highly recommend it.
As Jack says, "Make it count. Meet me at the clock."