I had this set to auto-publish on Wednesday, and didn't notice it didn't work until today...sorry for the missing post!
Last week I went to an exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Kat and I were beside ourselves excited. SO EXCITED. Kat brought her boys and her parents. I brought my stuffed penguin.
In the lobby of the museum was a scale model of the wreck. It was so scale that the rusticles were each accounted for and to scale. It was AH-mazing! The only wreck pictures I've ever seen didn't show things like the location of the loading cranes or the glass dome to the grand staircase, all in relative perspective.
Upstairs was the entrance to the exhibit. This is where the attendant checks your ticket and gives you a boarding pass (front seen on the left). It had a name, what class your accomodations were, etc. Mine was for Leah Aks, a third class (steerage FTW!) passenger with a 10 month old baby. Married to Sam Aks, a tailor in Virginia. (He had gone to N. America earlier, set up shop, and then sent for this wife and their son.) We were then told to look at the survivors list at the end of the exhibit to see if we survived the trip. I figured...steerage? Nah. Dead. I was pleasantly surprised! (Link goes to Encylopedia Titanica, a nifty little website about all things Titanic!)
So we enter the exhibit. There is a green wall where a lady takes your picture. She says you can "pick it up" at the end of the exhibit. Cool! Next, another lady offers a viewing of a 3D movie about the Titanic for $5 a person. That was not included in the exhibit price? Okay, no. We came to see the artifacts. We are told there are no phones or cameras allowed in the exhibit. The exhibit is kept dark to preserve the artifacts. Okay. I can deal with that. Makes sense to me. We walked in. Did you know that leather was preserved well due to the chemicals that were used in the tanning process? Little sea buggies didn't eat it. Just a heads up...if sea life and microbes don't eat it, you shouldn't eat it either.
I said the exhibit is dark, right? Well, the signs are hard to read. Back lighting anyone? Not everything that was posted in the exhibit was labelled. There were pictures of people without captions.The general flow sucked. There was no way to tell where you were supposed to walk next, or even if the exhibit was over or if there was more to see. The objects that were labelled were often described generically or mentioned other artifacts that were nowhere to be found. If a jar was filled with hair pomade, say hair pomade, don't say it's a toiletry jar. People relate better to the exhibit if they know that a jar had hair goo in it. Don't make people go online to look at artifacts and find out what their proper uses.
In one corner, just past the display table thing with a suit, socks and suspenders, there were some really crummy looking movies playing. The corner was wicked dark, and you had to get really close to the case to see the clothes. That's cool, I don't mind. What I did mind was the movie. Which turned out to be a 3D snippet of a camera going through the wreck. You could tell after venturing even further into the corner that there was a box on the floor with 3D glasses in it. There was a little printed sign that said pick up 3D glasses here, with an arrow pointing to the box, and next to it another box with a sign that said to return 3D glasses to it. So if you're not scared of weird dark corners in museum exibits, and you can read really dark signs, you would clog up the corner and block the exhibit with the suit and socks.
There were two built up displays, one of a first class cabin, and one of a steerage cabin. They were cutaways, but very prettily done. There was a big old piece of an iceberg (not sure if it was real or manufactured) on display that people could touch to see how cold it was that night. I may have brought my stuffed penguin Kismet to see the 'berg. I wanted to take a picture of Kismet with it, but no cameras. Kismet decided he doesn't like icebergs. He's a desert penguin.
That said, one of my favorite things was seeing the little humidity and temperature gauges in some of the cases. (Geek much?)
My least favorite was the store. I think if they had put half of the effort into the exhibit that they put in the store, it would have been a different story. Remember that picture someone took of our party when we entered the exhibit? Yeah, if you want that, it's going to be $20. They greenscreened us onto the grand staircase. They'd even add in a ghost of Captain Smith! Woo.
- Shirts? Great!
- Replicas of some of the artifacts dredged up? (That's the pomade container I was talking about) Awesome.
- Copies of the gaudy blue necklace from the movie Titanic? Sure. Fine. Whatever. (Not for sale on their website, like the pins, magnets and postcards.)
- Replica dishes? Dude. I would totally buy those.
- A necklace that is the chinese symbol for "long life"? Okay, now that's tacky and tasteless. Now I feel like you're trying to make money from the greatest peacetime naval tragedy. Just. Piss. Off.
I bought a pin and a pint glass. Kat bought me the dish pin. I got the Titanic's backside. The little propeller spins around (insert Penny squee here.)
My least favorite moment from the exhibit? When someone in the store checkout line asked if there was video footage from the actual event. (Just let that sink in for a bit.) To purchase. And when the checkout guy responded? He said it in a way that sounded to me like that's not the first person who has asked for it. And I wanted to throw up, cry, and punch people simultaneously.
And did you know? Someone is rebuilding the Titanic. A billionare in Australia.