Any past Titanic Exhibition staff membersvolunteers here


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Ray Burhop

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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
 
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.
happy.gif
). 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
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

 
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
 
Any other current or past Titanic exhibit staff members/volunteers here?

How about 'Ship Of Dreams' staff members?

regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
Thanks Cathy for sharing your memories, and detailing the truly special moments...

Funny you should mention one of the workers at the Chicago exhibit, posted by the Big Piece was bored out of his mind..
For as many motivated Titanic buffs we had on staff, we had twice as many who saw the gig as a job, nothing more, and were bored half the time.

I was very frustrated, and found myself encourageing local visitors to apply to work at the exhibit, as we needed Titanic buffs on staff...

Worst of the lot was the paid staff at the Toronto exhibit- Jason Tiller was the only one who cared about Titanic at that exhibit, the rest joked about it being a 'ridiculous topic'.

We had true Titanic buffs on the exhibit staff in in Boston and Dallas, but not so in St. Paul.
Half the 800 volunteers in St. paul were elderly, many with dementia, who volunteered as a way to keep occupied...I caught more than one little old lady peeing in a corner..

Highs in Boston were the arrival of the "Big Piece" straight from the wrecksite, spraying the "Big Piece" every day, and marveling how when touching the metal, ones hand would become covered in black paint, and talking with the visitors...

Highs in St Paul were pulling the lever to sound Titanic's whistles at the tests in WI, and being on hand for the public sounding in St. Paul...

Low moments were times in St. Paul when the management tried to herd as many people through the exhibits as they could, to the point it felt tike we were hearding cattle..
Then there were the many times in St. Paul when young mothers would change thier baby's diapers atop any waist high artifact display case..
I have to admit, I miss working the Titanic exhibits terribly-Its been 5 years, but a day doesn't go by without me thinking of walking through the exhibits...
Working with and around the artifacts, and talking to visitors every day about the exhibits was a dream.
The years of 1998-2000 were the best years of my life...

The cherry on the top will be an actual dive on the wreck....

For any other past/present Titanic Artifact exhibit staff members- what were your favorite memories of the experience?

regards


Tarn Stephanos
 
Hi Tarn,

Since I was only able to volunteer for a short time, I didn't have as many bad experiences as you did, but, like you, I *do* miss it.

You are right: working with and around the artifacts, and talking to visitors every day about the exhibits was a dream and I hope I have another opportunity like this in the future!

Best wishes,

Cathy
 
Hi cathy!
Though there were one or two rough moments, 99% of my time at the exhibits was incredible..
I have mainly good memories...
Though the staff members who couldnt care less about Titanic and cleaning up after the peeing elderly volunteers grew tiresome..


regards


tarn Stephanos
 
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