The Titanic museum was easy to get to as it is located on the main road in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. It's easily spotted due to the replica of the ship that makes up part of the museum.
(click to enlarge all photos)
When we walked up to the "boarding station" (White Swan Line), the staff, dressed in outfits like the staff would've worn on the Titanic, greeted us at our entrance. They were super friendly and engaged us in conversation. Before "boarding", you were handed a card that had the name of an actual passenger of the ship along with a short biography about them, their age and what class of the ship they were on. The adults were given a card of an adult (guys got guys, gals got gals), the kids were given a card of a child that was on board.
At the end of the tour of the museum, you would find out whether you survived the sinking or not.
Oh I forgot to mention, before we left for our trip, I printed out a paper from the Titanic's website that is a scavenger hunt for the kids to do while they walked around the museum. I loved this idea as it kept the kids engaged and it makes a great piece to put in their homeschool portfolio!
By the way, they have a whole section on the website dedicated to education and ways you can incorporate the different subjects into learning about the Titanic.
Back to the tour. . .
The museum also has the option of purchasing an audio tour while walking throughout the museum. There is so much information to take in just doing the museum alone but the audio tour adds another level to this. You can rent a handheld device to take part in this.
Throughout the museum there are numbers that you enter to listen to the recording that goes along with the artifact you are looking at or the area of the museum you are in. You hold it up to your ear like a phone to listen to. There is also a children's audio tour and they have a separate number they enter to hear information more geared to their understanding. Our kids took turns between the childrens & adult audio tour. They enjoyed being able to listen on their own. Many times one of them would come up to me and tell me to listen to what they just listened to!
I do want to preface the fact that once we walked into the museum, there was no photography allowed so unfortunately I don't have pictures from the inside (though I was given some pictures from the museum themselves with permission to share here.) I know, it's a bummer not to take photos of the many amazing displays but I do understand why it's not allowed. The museum is made up of many small rooms you walk through and if everyone were taking photos, it would ruin the visit. This was one time we didn't worry about taking pictures but rather focused on soaking in the experience. Another thing I appreciated about the museum is they only allow so many people in at a time so it doesn't get crowded (which is why it's a good idea to order your tickets ahead of time.)
When you first walk in, you are in a room that gives an overview of the Titanic. Each room you went through throughout the museum took you down the chronological timeline from the building of the ship to the sinking of the ship. Not only are facts presented throughout the museum but personal stories of the many of the people involved in the Titanic as well.
I couldn't even begin to tell you which of the rooms were my favorite, they were all wonderful! The kids & I had already known a lot about the Titanic but we walked away learning even more. In fact, there was a room dedicated to Father Frank Browne who took the only photographs that were saved from the Titanic. How did this happen? He was on the maiden voyage of the Titanic when it left from Southampton and stopped in Queensland, Ireland where he disembarked and didn't finish the journey across the atlantic. I never knew this! The room displayed many of the photos he took on board, including the only picture of the captain on the ship.
A purse handle & bracelet
One of the deck chairs
Another neat feature of the museum is they have rooms set up to recreate what different areas of the ship had looked like.
Actual size of a 3rd class cabin
1st class stateroom
There were displays of the clothing they would've worn, what one of the ships hallways would've looked like, etc. Another interesting room was solely made up of artifacts and information from the filming of the movie Titanic. There were signed pieces from the actors, behind the scenes pictures as well as some of the actual props they used for the making of the movie. They even explained how they shot certain parts of the movie.
Before you go to the second floor of the museum, you are brought to a true-to-size replica of the infamous grand staircase that you actually walk up to get to the next floor. (there is an elevator for those who need it).
Before advancing to the second floor, we were gathered in a group by a very engaging employee named Ron who shared facts about this beautiful staircase. In fact, before he started his presentation, he noticed my family & the friends with us and asked about our group. I mentioned we were homeschoolers so he said before I go to the next floor, to see him as he had some information to share. He gave me a website that contains wealth of knowledge about the Titanic (it seriously is an awesome resource!) I appreciated he took the time to talk to us.
As if all this wasn't enough, there were different interactive displays as well. There was a replica of a hall & stairwell and when you pushed the button, water began to rush into it like it would've on the ship. It started out slow but eventually began to pour in. I can't imagine what those people thought as they saw that.
There was a tot Titanic area for the littlest ones to explore.
The sloping decks were also neat to try out (I had Ava in the moby wrap on me so I didn't try them but everyone else with us did).
I think one of our favorite interactive places was when we walked "outside" of the ship onto what was a simulation of that fateful night. It was dark and 32 degrees in that room. To the side was an actual piece of iceburg we could feel then we moved to the front of the ship where we could put our hand into water that was the exact temp of the ocean water when the ship sank, a freezing 28 degrees.
Oh my goodness, the pain you felt in your hand when you put it into the water was insane!! Before we put our hand in, the employee that was there encouraged us to not just do a quick dip but move our hand around and keep it there as long as possible. Wow, I can't even imagine what those people felt as they were plunged fully into that water. He said within 2-4 minutes after being submerged, hypothermia set in and they were unconscious then within 10-20 minutes they died.
At the end of the museum, we came to the memorial room where every passenger of the ship was listed. It was there we learned our fate, if we survived or not.
We discovered Kevin & I both died and all the kids lived.
At the end of the museum, there is a gift shop. There seriously is so much more to this museum I didn't mention. I know we could easily go back a second time and discover things we overlooked this past time. There was so much to learn & discover here, by far it was our most favorite museum we've been to. In fact, anytime someone has asked my kids what their favorite thing they did in Tennessee (next to visiting our friends) they said it was seeing this museum for sure!
You can order tickets ahead of time. They even have a reasonably priced family pass for 2 adults & 4 kids ($60.58 plus tax), group rates as well as special homeschool pricing. If you are in the area, I would definitely recommend making time to tour this amazing museum!!
My family was given tickets and audio tour in order to facilitate an honest review. All opinions expressed are those of myself & family. No other compensation was given.