By Wendell Scott

Resting on the lonely floor of the Atlantic Ocean, the Titanic breathes new life in Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at Atlantic Station.

I was given a boarding pass and a new identity, Mr. Austin Blyler Van Billiard. I was from North Wales, Pennsylavania and had two younger sons. I was taken back to April 10, 1912 when the R.M.S. Titanic was to set sail. And it felt like it too. As I walked through the beginning areas of the exhibit, specific sounds and artifacts signaled that the transformation back 101 years ago had occurred. My heart skipped three beats really. I was boarding the Titanic.

I was fascinated as I walked through the “ship” and found several personal items and stories from many different passengers that occupied the ship. There were pots, pans, handkerchiefs tinted with stains, and so many tiny trinkets that meant so much to these passengers. It was very emotional to see these things really. One thing that I couldn’t help but do, was imagine these passengers looking out over the ship’s edge watching the waves go by, clutching onto the items that rest now in glass cases. Very touching experience for me.

The exhibit reveals how the different social classes lived and what sort of environments they were subject to as they sailed to the United States. Speaking of classes, I climbed to the top of the social ladder when I encountered the Jewels of the Titanic mini-exhibit. I walked past a curtain of crystal and was faced with some of the most brilliant pieces of jewelry I have ever seen. I had to scurry out of there though because I began to violently tear up from some of the stories I read that connected with each piece. Speaking of this exhibit, Atlanta is the first city to experience this mini-exhibit. Its next stop will be in Orlando. Take advantage of it, you will not regret it.

I won’t reveal too much about the final stop in the exhibit, but all I could say was: “Wow”. When you step into the last room of this exhibit, you will cry. End of story. The last stop gets very personal with artifacts and stories of passengers that you might know well from the film and that you might have encountered earlier in the exhibit too. I will tell you this. I teared up looking at a jar of preserved olives. Not because I’m a food maniac, but because it made it seem so real. Pieces like that proved to me that this really wasn’t just a figment of James Cameron’s imagination or a drastic image in our textbooks. It was real.

If you are able to get to this exhibit, make it happen. This is something you do not want to miss. I didn’t give you details purposely because I want you to experience this phenomenon for yourself. This is definitely an Atlanta must-do. The exhibit will be here through January so you still have enough time. Get on board.

Titanic Atlanta website

–Wendell Scott


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