My parents were out visiting from Montana this weekend and we wanted to hang out with them in a relaxed way, a way that didn’t involve driving into downtown Seattle to see something quintessentially Seattle-like.
Instead, we ate steel-cut oats, played games and explored the Titanic… in Redmond. Country Financial is sponsoring a free traveling exhibit of artifacts from the world’s most famous shipwreck and it happened to be in Redmond this weekend. I was pumped to go. I think my parents were a little less than pumped but they just wanted to hang out with and spoil Laylee and Magoo so they came along for the ride. Maybe their reticence was due to the fact that my dad had a premonition he wouldn’t make it out of the exhibit alive.
There’s something about that boat that’s always fascinated me long before Leonardo DiCaprio cavorted around on the silver screen. I’ve seen movies, documentaries and pictures about the events surrounding the disaster and the efforts to recover the artifacts from the ship and I’ve always wanted to go down in one of those bubble ship things and, I don’t know, look for ghosts and jewelry and such.
The exhibit was set up in a mall parking lot with a few huge semi-trucks linked together to form an impromptu museum. We got our picture taken in front of a backdrop of the grand staircase and each of us was given a boarding pass with the name of an actual passenger on the Titanic. They told us that at the end of the exhibit we could find out if our passenger survived or not. Is it just me or does Magoo look a bit trepidacious about spending his Memorial Day weekend entering things called “exhibits” that look like giant trucks smooshed together, where the chance of survival is highly unlikely?
In a fun gesture, the exhibit organizers gave local bloggers special treatment, letting our group skip the lines and giving us permission to take pictures inside, although picture taking was not allowed by people who do not publish their thoughts, opinions and whims online. The coolest thing they handed out to the geeks in attendance was a certified piece of coal that was actually retrieved from the titanic. I’m not sure what to do with said piece of coal. If I had a coffee table, maybe I could put it on there on some sort of special gilded dish and wait for people to ask me about it. In all likelihood its usefulness will only come next time I play Two Truths and a Lie at a sleepover party and I’ll say, “I have a piece of coal from the Titanic in my sock drawer.”
As we entered, I heard one tween boy rush ahead, “Come on mom. Let’s just hurry through. I just want to see if we survived.” Laylee and Magoo seemed equally unimpressed by the artifacts although they peeked inside each case and listened intently as we explained what an iceberg was and how the ship crashed and sunk. They have a great and strange love of all things morbid.
In the end, everyone but Papa survived. Pretty good odds, I’d say considering the odds of the actual passengers on the ship.
This sign puts a lump in my throat:
Go to the site and have a look to see if they’re coming to your town. It was a cool exhibit and the price was right. It’s a great chance to teach your kids a little history and maybe instill in them a healthy fear of ice. It may be good in a watered-down glass of ginger-ale when you’re pregnant but when you least expect it, it’ll tear a hole in your hull and send your one true love on a one way trip into the frigid drink.
*Besides the lump of coal in my stocking, some silly putty and the chance to cut in line, I was not compensated for attending or writing about this exhibit. I just appreciate a company willing to support the arts and education in these tough financial times so I’m giving a shout out to Country Financial.*