Any past Titanic Exhibition staff membersvolunteers here


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Jan 7, 2002
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Anyone here who worked or voluntered at past (or present) Titanic Artifact Exhibitions? What have been your most cherished memories of the experince?
For me, it was the arrival of the BiG Piece in Boston, the sounding of the whistles in St. Paul, and meeting the descendants of the passengers and crew in all the cities. Many came in with photos of those Titanic passengers and crew which to this day have never been published, and shared subtle nuances about the personalities of their Titanic relatives, details unrealated authors would know nothing about.

My least favorite memory had to do with the Toronto exhibit- it was near Christmas, and some folks from Newfoundland dropped by, saying they had a huge quantity of what their grandfather claimed was Titanic wreckwood.I had left for Christmas holiday the day before.

They talked to a chap who who was in charge of renting out the audio narrative headsets, which for him was just a job. The fellow was not a Titanic buff, nor one of my staff members.

Im told he was given their name and number, and he lost both and didnt tell me about the inscident until weeks later. He related to me pieces of wood they had with them were big, though 'broken', and so he presumed them worthless, and told them as such.

This chap certainly wasnt one of my staff members...I wanted to strangle him..He never understood why i was so upset.

Those folks came by the one day we were really understaffed- they never had called ahead, they just popped by. As we were days from Christmas, as as we had few visitors to the Toronto exhibit, we had a skeleton crew for the 3 days preceeded the holiday.

Anyway, we never heard back from those folks with the wood, and despite my efforts trying to go through Newfoundland phone books to track them down , we found nothing...To this day i cringe thinking- If I had left home for Christmas on the 23rd, rather than 24th, this tragedy would have been avoided.

Who knows, since then, mabey those folks gave their things to the Museum Of the Atlantic, or mabey they put the wood back into their attic..
Talk about the one that got away.......

SOO, My advice to anyone working at a Titanic exhibit- make it very clear if someone walks through the door with Titanic wreckwood or photos of the ship, there is a person with whom they can speak- if that person is not available, take a message!!!! Make such clear to all departments, from the gift shop to security to maitenence. It sounds obvious, but sometimes the obvious becomes the elusive for some folks.

Toronto was the exhibit where SFX basically opted not to invest in advertising,(focus was on Las Vegas) and few people came. Its a pity, as I found folks in Toronto to be very hip, very interested in Titanic, and they only complaint about the exhibit was that they didnt know it existed, and would have appreciated some more aggressive advertising. I think many of the staff were disgruntled by this...Even still, working around the artifacts was a big honor, and Toronto a very beautiful city.We had one true Titanic buff on staff- Jason Tiller, who is a postee on this board. I wished we had a crew of Jasons in Toronto.

Somthing interesting occoured at the Boston exhibit- An elderly man who's family lived next to Harold Bride said Bride used to shoo away the children when they wandered too close to his land. Bride was apparently a very private person in his later years. Overall the exhibits were an amazing time.

Volunteer if it comes to your town. I miss those days, and will return only when order and sanity returns to the equation...

The hardest part about staffing a a floor crew (narrators, tour guides)for past Titanic exhibits is finding a crew who actually were Titanic buffs. Titanic buffs were very hard to find. I suppose as most had 'real jobs', and were only available on weekends. But the Titanic buffs we found who could work were dedicated, and hardcore. We had a great crew of Titanic buffs in Boston and Dallas. Which exhibits were the best? Im keen on Boston, as its my hometown, my first exhibit, and the place where Titanic finished the maiden Voyage in the form of the Big Piece....

Dallas was my 2nd favorite, as we had such a motivated staff, most of which were hardcore titanic buffs, and massive turnout of the crowd. It being my fifth and last exhibit, it certainly ended the ride on a high note....

So volunteer, and work around the pieces of history, make your dreams come true...

Many regards

Tarn Stephanos
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Tarn,

Thanks for the wonderful comments!
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Much appreciated. I'll post a little more on this later.

Did you get my e-mails?

Best regards,

Jason
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(Message edited by jtiller on April 1, 2002)
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Tarn,

I promised I would comment on the above and I'm now going to. I remember hearing about that couple that came in with the wood from the Titanic and I also remember who was responsible for what happened. It was definitely one that got away.

As far as the advertising went, I agree with you. SFX did not do nearly enough to promote the exhibition which really upset me. If it had, I'm absolutely certain that the attendance would have been a lot better.

Best regards,

Jason
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Jan 7, 2002
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Hi Jason!
Be sure to email me again with your address so i can get you the Toronto pix. SFX must be doing good with advertising these days- I recently read the current Houston exhibits saw 80,000 people in one month. But man, they dropped the ball with Toronto. Nobody came. We'd go hours when not a single person dropped by. Pity- Toronto was such a lovely place, and it was a great exhibit.On the surface that sounds great, but if you visited any of the jam packed Titanic exhibits, like St. Paul, it can be a bit of a downer going through an exhibit as crowded as stadium...

Once should have the time and freedom to wander back and forth...

As for the wood that got away, ill never recover from that. I was told it took two people to carry in some of those pieces, and the head set rental rastafarian told them as the pieces were broken, they were likely worthless. I could have killed him......


8 (


regards

Tarn Stephanos
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Aug 20, 2000
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Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hi Tarn!

I'll e-mail you with my address. Wow, SFX must be doing really well with the advertising, but you're right they really dropped the ball when the exhibition was here. I remember when hours would go by and we would not get one person, it was terrible. Their was a lot more that should have been done, but wasn't.

I agree, one should definitely be able to wander back and forth in an exhibit.

I can understand that you won't be able to recover from the wood that got away. He was such an idiot for telling the couple that the wood was likely worthless.
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Best regards,

Jason
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Jan 7, 2002
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Hi Kyrila!

No, I didnt work the Titanic exhibition in St Petersburg, but rather the one after that in Boston; then St Paul,Toronto,Dallas, and part of Chicago.....

These days im narrating whale watches and working at the Salem witch museum..

peace

Tarn Stephanos
 

Wade Sisson

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Apr 13, 2001
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I was a volunteer exhibit interpreter for Titanic: The Exhibition in Kansas City, Mo. from April to September, 2001. I had such a wonderful time guiding people through the exhibit and sharing stories. I met a descendant of First Officer Murdoch and was touched by his thoughtfulness in sharing the family story with me. It was such a positive experience and the people seemed genuinely awed and moved by her story. I think Titanic is a universal lesson that still resonates today. Seeing tangible objects that were raised from the wreck site really helps bring the tale to life for generations not yet born when she sailed on that epic voyage. It was my privilege to have been able to participate in the exhibit. I wish it had stayed here forever!
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Hi Wade
I concour, working the exhibits was indeed a special thing..
Hard to beleive its been FIVE years since i saw the Big Piece arrive here in Boston...
How time flies..
regards

tarn Stephanos
 
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Ray Burhop

Guest
I am presently serving as volunteer docent, tour quide at the Titanic Exhibit in Tampa which opened at the Museum of Science and Industry, (MOSI) the first of November. I am having a ball. I work the exhibit two days a week and find I can't wait to get back. We have the "Big Piece". People who attended the first Titanic Exhibit over five years ago in St Petersburg, FL tells us the present Exhibit is much better than the original. I have always been interested in the Titanic since I was a child as my grandfather worked on the Titanic in Belfast and loved to tell his grand kids about his experience. Now I have expanded my studies to be able to address questions asked of me during my service. I would strongly recommend volunteering for this exhibit. I can't stay away and will be rather sad when it leaves MOSI next April.
 
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Dave Tuttle

Guest
Three weeks ago, while working at the Raleigh, NC exhibit, I met the grand nephew of William "Billy" Carter, who discussed his great uncle's Renault automobile in the cargo hold. I've been taking school groups through after I've done my seminar for them at their schools.
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Dave Tuttle
 

Ron Schneider

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Aug 10, 2004
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Last summer, while performing at TSOD in Orlando, I hosted on my tour the 8-year-old great-grandniece of bandleader Wallace Hartley.

She'd heard the stories all her life, but it had never registered, she couldn't understand it.

I got to take her out on the deck, under the stars, listening to 'Nearer, My God, to Thee', and watch the look on her face as it dawned on her what he'd accomplished.

On the other hand...

I was dropping off a group in 'Life on Board', when one gentleman commented, "I had a high school art teacher in Chicago, used to tell everyone he was a passenger on Titanic... No one believed him, we all thought he was nuts."

I asked him the teacher's name. He replied, "Marshall Drew."

I pointed at the wall and asked, "Is that his picture?"

He said, "OH, MY GOD!"

Ron Schneider
a.k.a. Ennis Hastings Watson
"Everyone calls me Pat... "
 
Jun 4, 2000
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Hello Ron,
Good to see you on the board so quickly.
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Both of those stories are marvellous in their own different ways. Thanks for posting them.

(ps - I've cleared up your 'hiccough'.)
 
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Ray Burhop

Guest
I have just completed my eight month volunteer duty as the captain of the docents on the Titanic Exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). The exhibit left Tampa for Philadelphia. I had grown so attached to the exhibit that it was difficult for me to see it sale off to Philadelphia. The grand staircase and the big piece was so moving for me. Is anyone out there working the Philadelphia exhibit? I would like to hear from you. Ray Burhop
 
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Hi Tarn,

I have seen three artifact exhibits (in Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit) and volunteered at the latter one day a month for the duration of the exhibit. If it had been closer to home and if I didn't have to work, I'd have been there more often!

I was motivated to volunteer after the Chicago exhibit. I was very jealous of the volunteer who was in the room with the Big Piece. He was not a Titanic buff and was bored out of his mind. I decided that if I ever had the opportunity to volunteer at a Titanic exhibit of any kind, I would. I'm so glad I did!

Cherished memories: spending so much time with the artifacts, answering questions, talking about Titanic, and meeting Capt. Dave Brown and George Behe.

Favorite artifacts: personal items, the Big Piece, the D-Deck gangway door, the whistles. The pieces of the ship are cool, but the personal items (eyeglasses, jewelry, etc.) keep you from forgetting what a tragedy this was. I loved touching the Big Piece!

Favorite recreations: the Grand Staircase, the Promenade Deck, and a first-class hallway; I felt like I was really there! The Staircase was impressive because of the size and the details you can't see anywhere else (not even Cameron's sets). The Promenade Deck was impressive because it was like walking onto the deck at night: cold, dark, starry, and you could hear the water rushing along side the ship.

I also loved the huge model of the ship.

Funny moments:
One lady told me her grandmother was supposed to sail on Titanic, but was late so she missed it; however, she was on Carpathia when it picked up the survivors. Rather than correct her, I just smiled and said, "Oh, how interesting!"

I was not there the day of the Aug. 03 blackout, but the following weekend I asked the employees what happened when the lights went out. The emergency lights were on, so they were able to lead the visitors out safely. Everything was fine until the next afternoon when something suddenly dawned on them. I believe their exact words were "Oh, sh*t! The iceberg!" (Probably not the first time those words were uttered in relation to Titanic.
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). Needless to say, when the power went off the iceberg melted. That's a LOT of water, but no artifacts were damaged, and it only took a few days to dry out the carpet.

Least favorite aspects: the errors. The most obvious were the deck plans of Olympic (not Titanic), spelling and punctuation errors throughout the exhibit, and misspelled/misplaced names on the memorial wall.

In conclusion, volunteering was a wonderful experience and I urge all of you to do so if you get the opportunity. Be warned: it will get to you. I thought I could talk about Titanic without getting emotional, but one day someone asked me about the orchestra and I got choked up when I answered -- so did the visitor.

Best wishes,

Cathy
 

Paul Lee

Member
Aug 11, 2003
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I helped out with the Science Museum exhibit in the summer of 2003 before the fatigue of my week job and the heat of the exhibition wore me down. I had a great time doing it. Theres not much to tell, except to say that one day the lanyard holding up the crow's nest bell snapped and the bell hit the floor with an almightly "CLANG!!!!". Amazingly, it survived.

Best wishes

Paul

 
Jan 7, 2002
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It was an amazing experince, no doubt...
If ever you get the chance to work or volunteer at an exhibit, go for it...


regards


Tarn Stephanos
 
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