On April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and began sinking in the North Atlantic Ocean. It was her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Many believed the ship was unsinkable, but that tragic night proved otherwise. The RMS Titanic was carrying over 2,000 people when she hit the iceberg, and less than a third of those people survived. The disaster is tragic not only due to the number of lives lost, but also due to the way in which the events surrounding and following the sinking took place. The RMS Titanic was traveling almost at full speed when it struck, even though several ice warnings had been issued. The evacuation was scattered and not well managed, and there were not enough lifeboats to accommodate all the people aboard. As passengers were placed in lifeboats, women, children, and First Class passengers were made priority. Many boats were not filled before they were lowered into the waters, so it is believed that many more lives could have been saved. When the ship sank, there were more than 1,000 passengers and crew members still on board. Although several boats still had empty spaces after the ship sank, only two went back to rescue more people.
The sinking of the RMS Titanic is an event that is known around the world. The tragedy was a turning point in maritime laws and regulations; it led to the establishment of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) in 1914 – a convention that is still in place today. Today, the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the world’s largest museum attraction, stands as a tribute to the lives lost. With interactive exhibits, authentic artifacts, and kids’ activities, it’s a great way to step back in time and learn more about the infamous event.
Titanic Museum Attraction
The experience at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge was created to make guests feel as if they were passengers on the Titanic themselves. Outside, the ship stands as a huge feature on the Parkway in the heart of Pigeon Forge. A real iceberg outside, along with 28-degree water, allows visitors to physically feel how cold it would have been for passengers. There are even sloping decks where visitors can attempt to stand on the “sinking” ship. Inside, “passengers” can walk the hallways, explore the parlors and cabins, and experience the majesty of the Grand Staircase for a truly unique experience. The museum holds more than 400 artifacts, valued at over $4.5 million, that actually came from the ship and Titanic passengers. Each guest that arrives at the Titanic Museum Attraction will:
- Receive a boarding pass of an actual Titanic crew member or passenger
- Take a self-guided tour through the museum
- Shovel “coal” in the Boiler Room
- Learn how to send an SOS signal
- Sit in a life-size lifeboat while listening to passenger stories
- Walk the $1 million replica of Titanic’s Grand Staircase
At the end of the self-guided tour, visitors will find out their passenger or crew member’s fate in the Titanic Memorial Room. Here, 2,208 names cover the wall. Kids can also explore the Tot-Titanic area, which offers interactive activities for children 8 and under.
The Grand Staircase
Truly a wonder to behold, the Grand Staircase at the museum is an exact replica of the original. It was constructed by using the original plans by Harland & Wolff, including its oak carvings and cherub statue. A glass dome above reflects the light, while the iron scrollwork and elaborately carved railings surround. The steps lead out to beautiful landings, where today’s guests can actually have special events.
Special Events at the Titanic Museum Attraction
On May 23 and May 30, Penelope Carlevato, author of “Tea on the Titanic,” and co-author of “First Class Etiquette,” will be at the Titanic Museum Attraction for book signings from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Her book is a collection of recipes, along with a history of traditional Afternoon Tea and High Tea during the time of the Titanic. There is also a special Molly Brown exhibit at the museum that allows guests to learn more about one of the ship’s most famous passengers. Throughout the year, the museum honors a number of different groups, including students and people of Irish descent. Check their calendar to see what’s going on during your time in the Smokies.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, we have cabins to meet almost any need! Check out our Pigeon Forge cabins, many located just minutes from downtown and the Titanic Museum Attraction!
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