On April 15, 1912 the largest ship in the world and it’s passengers met with disaster after colliding with an iceberg. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of it’s maiden voyage and legendary, tragic journey into the deep blue sea, it’s artifacts are on display at the Kansas City Union Station Titanic Exhibit until September 9, 2012. There are many signs explaining the items on display, in addition to an audio tour with more than 30 different stories to hear. Visitors receive a boarding pass that included information about one of it’s passengers. I received Mrs. John Henry Chapman (Sarah Elizabeth Lawry), who was 29 years old and on a belated honeymoon. She and her husband travelled 2nd class. Second Class ticket cost around $60/person, or around $1,500 today. The Chapman’s were from Spokane, Washington, but were traveling back to Fitzburn, Wisconsin to live closer to Sarah’s brother.

Titanic carried 2,000 passengers (about the same number who attended the NCTOH conference with me the previous 3 days), in addition to 700 or so crew. A 1st Class ticket for a single room cost around $150 per person ($2,000 in today‚Äôs dollars). A ticket for the multi-room parlor suites was $2,500 per person (about $52,000 today). There were two large luxury suites on Promenade B, and those cost $5,000 per person or over $100,000 today. These suites had electricity and private baths. The richest person on board was Lt. Colonel John Astor, with an estimated wealth of 100,000 million! He did not survive. The two brothers affiliated with Macy’s department store were on board, but I don’t recall much of their story.

A 3rd Class (or Steerage) ticket cost $40/person, or around $900 today. These folks slept in rooms that had 2 bunk beds, so four people would share a room – they were often strangers and many times, spoke different languages. Titanic provided 2 bathtubs for the entire 700+ steerage passengers, one for men, and one for women. This situation was apparently acceptable, as people were bathing once a week during this time in history.

There were hundreds of artifacts recovered from the ocean floor: paper and money and coins, dishes and china used to serve passengers from all three classes, pots, pans, silverware, jewelry, a top hat and bow tie, silk stockings, porthole, bottles, bolts, wrenches, window from the crew’s cabin, bathroom items, parts of benches, a musical instrument and sheet music, postcards, eyeglasses, clothespins and many more things I can’t remember. Photography is not allowed, but a blog will lasts forever – right? The final room had items that belonged to specific passengers and told their story of why they were on the Titanic and if they survived. There is also four lists of passengers, separated by 1st class, 2nd class, 3rd class and crew members and those lists were separated into two categories: Survivors and those who perished. Mr. and Mrs. John Henry Chapman both perished. May Titanic and all her passengers RIP.

I highly recommend this self-guided tour if you are anywhere near Kansas City, Missouri.


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