One of the most interesting aspects of owning a Bed and Breakfast is that you never know who may be sitting at your breakfast table. Everyone has a story or two to tell, and we never know what we may learn about our guests. One morning Frank was joking about who was the oldest guest at the table, when an elderly gentleman proclaimed that he had to be the oldest person in the room. In fact he said that his mother had been a Titanic survivor. He went on to tell the group what that type of celebrity had meant to his mother. She had participated in several Titanic survivor reunions well into her eighties. At the time this gentleman stayed with us there were only three survivors still living, and now there is only one.
The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge is one of two venues dedicated to the Titanic and owned by the same man (the other is in Branson, MO).
Former network television executive producer John Joslyn first became interested in the Titanic back in 1987, when he produced a TV special called “Return to the Titanic…Live”. A few decades later, followed by the box office smash film, the interest in all things Titanic remains strong.
The museum does contain a number of artifacts carried off by surviving passengers or recovered from the debris field. Mostly though, its a kind of tangible narration concerning the ship and the people who were on it. Portions of the ship are re-created in great detail, including the famous Grand Staircase, third class hallways and rooms, first class suites, the bridge and dining rooms. A number of interactive elements expand the experience, including the ability to experience the 28-degree salt water, allowing you to viscerally comprehend the fate that awaited most of the ships passengers.
And a final bit of trivia will let you know more of the Asheville connection. George Vanderbilt and his wife Edith, who helped put Asheville on the map in the late 19th century, had booked passage on the Titanic and cancelled their reservations at the last minute!