We went to the Louisville Science Center yesterday (March 7th) to see the Titanic exhibit on the last day of the show. They had numerous artifacts from the shipwreck on display in plexiglas cases (each with its own alarm system – quite sensitive alarms; several were set off while we were browsing). There were large storyboards on the walls behind the display cases, many with passenger quotes, some with excerpts from writers. There was nothing on display that was in itself amazing but the whole thing brought home the human side of the tragedy and put faces on the list of names, some saved, some lost.
When we purchased our tickets we were given boarding passes, each with the name of an actual passenger with a small amount of biographical data about that person – near the end of the tour we were able to compare the names we were issued against the ‘Saved-Lost’ lists. The complete passenger lists (1st, 2nd, 3rd classes) can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pbnjsu . On this same site you’ll find a lot of other facts about the ship and its demise.
After we left the exhibit area we strolled around to see what else was to be seen. There were numerous hands-on displays that demonstrated laws of physics and other phenomena. There were many kids running around turning cranks, pulling on ropes, etc. In the health area we learned all about our bodies and how they work.
Around 4:00 we went to the 3rd floor to enter the IMAX area for the afternoon showing of “Ghosts of the Abyss”. This was a film of an expedition in 2001 to re-visit the shipwreck site. The director was James Cameron, and Bill Paxton (from the movie “Titanic”) was along to provide his impressions and it was him we heard for much of the narration. The whole thing was very well done and we really enjoyed the showing. They showed how they descended in submersible crafts for human viewing and how they launched 2 miniature robot craft to explore the tight spaces within the wreck – the robot craft (dubbed ‘Jake’ and ‘Elwood’) were launched from docking areas on the deep submersible craft. During the explorations by the small robots we could see various parts of the ship, from common areas to private cabins (including Molly Brown’s stateroom), and live action re-enactments were blended with the deep sea shots, very effectively done. All in all, a very enjoyable presentation.
After leaving the Science Center we strolled along Main Street in Louisville, marvelling at the well-preserved old buildings and then we went into a newly-opened small restaurant for some nice sandwiches and restorative beverages. We’ll need to go back downtown when we have more time to see what else there might be. We did see some more museums in the immediate area, so those might be neat to explore. Upon leaving the restaurant we headed down to the Ohio River, barely a block away – I wanted to take a few photos while we still had the light. Of course, it’s quite difficult to capture the River in just a few photographs but maybe you’ll get some of the feel of it. An interesting fact about the river at this point in its course – they had to build a lock at Louisville to compensate for the 37-foot drop of the river there. They call this the Falls of the Ohio, and the lock is the McAlpine Lock – quite a deal to take care of the huge barges that ply the river going upstream and down. I always enjoy coming to the river – so peaceful and awe-inspiring. Looking forward to picnic weather, just around the corner on the calendar.