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A Titanic triumph: a stunning exhibition at the Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Va., is drawing record crowds as the epic saga of the doomed ship continues to fascinate the public.

A stunning exhibition at The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Va., is drawing record crowds as the epic saga of the doomed ship continues to fascinate the public. As an event in itself, one evening, guests were given a taste of what the last dinner on the Titanic must have been like.

Under the imaginative guidance of its director, Claudia L. Pennington, The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Va., has mounted an incredible exhibition, "Titanic: Fortune & Fate." Because of the large number of people flocking to it since the show's Jan. 24 opening, the exhibition has been extended from the original closing date of Sept. 7 to Nov. 1.

The stories of passengers and crew members come alive through a collection of photographs, memorabilia, and personal items, including millionaire John Jacob Astor's pocket watch and monogrammed cufflinks, a good luck talisman in the shape of an Egyptian mummy that the Unsinkable Molly Brown carried off the doomed ship, and third-class passenger Patrick Dooley's postcard to his Irish sweetheart. Visitors to the museum can gain an appreciation of what passengers experienced by immersing their hands in 28 [degrees] F seawater that mimics the ocean's temperature the fateful night Titanic sank and by donning lifejackets and climbing into a lifeboat.

On April 4, the museum hosted a lavish re-creation of the last dinner on the Titanic with a tempting six-course meal, accompanied by wine and champagne. Many of the guests attended in tuxedos and evening gowns reminiscent of the Edwardian era, while museum staff members costumed themselves as passengers and crew members. The dinnerware was based on a pattern used aboard Titanic, and each guest received a souvenir plate to commemorate the occasion.

At a symposium on April 5, Titanic experts and authors discussed the ship's history, the making of the Academy Award-winning and box office record-shattering movie, the food served aboard Titanic, and the world of collecting maritime memorabilia, including the human element behind the disaster. Speakers were Edward and Karen Kamuda, president and vice-president of the Titanic Historical Society; world-famous and extraordinarily talented maritime artist Ken Marschall and Don Lynch, historian of the Titanic Historical Society, co-authors of Titanic': An Illustrated History, which has become a best-seller; Rick Archbold, author of The Last Dinner on the Titanic, and his collaborator, Dana McCauley, who prepared recipes for the book and the museum dinner; and Stanley Lehrer, president and publisher of USA Today, whose collection provided many of the exhibition's highlights.
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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Jul 1, 1998
Words:407
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