Tragic Titanic tale attracts surprisingly young fans at museum in Branson

Sinking of the Titanic (1912)Arts and CultureMuseumsScience

BRANSON, Mo. -- Ever since she sank 100 years ago, the stories of Titanic endure: the great loss of life, the dramatic tales of survivors, and the discovery of the wreckage.  Many people have seen the replica of the Titanic at a museum here.  In the past six years, it’s become a major tourist draw, and it turns out the typical fan may be younger than most people realize.

Before the half scale front half of the Titanic was built here, Titanic was an ocean liner that became a tragic example of human error.  Her sinking in April 1912 changed how people perceived the daring new engineering and technology of the industrial age.  

The Titanic disaster forever altered confidence in the safety of what people build.  After all, this was supposed to be the unsinkable ship.

This museum pays tribute to Titanic’s legacy. It’s full of artifacts and re-creations of interior features like the Titanic’s grand staircase.  The exhibits tell the story of people aboard Titanic that horrific night 100 years ago.

“People survived and were able to tell that story. That’s amazing!” said Titanic fan Melanie Long on a recent day.

“The ship was the largest moving thing on the face of the earth at that time. There was nothing larger than the Titanic,” said John Joslyn.

Joslyn, in particular, knows the story of Titanic.  Joslyn and his wife, Mary Kellogg, own this Titanic museum and another one like it in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.  Moreover, Joslyn is one of just a few who’ve dived to and explored the Titanic wreckage on the ocean floor.

In 1987, Joslyn was a leader of the first manned expedition to the Titanic. They made 32 dives.  It was dangerous work.  Titanic is over two miles down.

“You sit in this submersible, this capsule, very small, you’re there for two and a half hours just in the dark,” said Joslyn.

It was a magic moment when the Titanic came into view.

“You’re dazzled by the image. Here this great big ship is sitting on the bottom of the ocean, and the bow comes out.  It’s almost like an aberration.  It comes out of nowhere, and there it sits, and you’re dazzled by it,” said Joslyn.

After they found the wreckage and the big movie came out, some thought interest in Titanic would sink.  New fans surfaced, however: children.

“I started studying it when I was in first grade,” said 8-year-old Findley Bell.

Findley got interested when his dad told him about the Titanic.  Now he’s fascinated with the story.

“It’s pretty cool and creepy at the same time,” he said.

“About 5 years old, we see it time after time, kids are so enamored by it.  A friend here in Branson, his kid is 8 years old -- he’s probably been here 25 times,” said Joslyn.

“Ever since I was little, and the move ‘Titanic’ came out, I’ve always loved it.  And this 100-year anniversary and everything, it’s just really amazing to come and see this museum that holds these artifacts,” said Titanic fan Madison Long.

One hundred years after she sank, fascination with Titanic endures.  It captivates those who’ve seen the wreckage and those who wish to see it.

“I’d like to see it, but I heard it costs, like, $2 billion,” said an 8-year-old museum visitor.

“Well, for us, it’s gone on 25 years and I don’t see an end in sight,” said Joslyn.

This weekend, many events are planned at the Titanic Museum, including a gala concert and show.



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