Titanic survives Route 80 wreck


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Aug 29, 2000
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Ballard's Institute at Mystic ,CT Aquarium was supposed to unveil it's "Icons of the Sea" exhibit today at 5- I was just leaving to attend when the phone rang and it is cancelled due to a wreck of the semi-tractor trailer bringing 16 famous ships from Michigan's Fine Art Models homebase. The five MILLION dollar exhibit skidded 200 feet on a retaining wall near a 190 foot gorge on route 80 in Pennsylvania. The models may take up to 6 months to repair. The case containing the 18 foot Titanic model suffered paint damage from broken glass and lifeboat damage. Other famous ships included the Arizona, Indiannapolis and Bismarck. The builder, Gary Kohls said "This time she survived." What a story at this time of the year!
 
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Darren- My thoughts exactly! Apparently the arrival of the big truck was supposed to be part of the great hoopla gala event- the big ships rolling in with fanfare. I tend to be a micromanager- all of the ships would have had to have been in place a week ahead of time and draped with cloths ready for the unveiling to suit me! I understand the old exhibit has been put back up in the place meant for Icons of the Sea. The time for repairs to the shipwrecked models has been given as 2-6 months. Too bad as this would have coincided with the big opening of "Ghosts of the Abyss" in nearby Providence, R.I. I will check today's paper for an update on the story.
 

Dan Cherry

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Very interesting situation. I shall refrain from comment - someone has stolen my soapbox.

The Professor
 
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The kids took me to the White Star Restaurant for Mother's Day, then on to Mystic Aquarium afterward. It seems that now, for $16 per person one can see both the aquarium and Ballard's Institute exhibit. You do have to pay another $2 per person to see the interactive SHARK! exhibit-which we gave the miss. Ballard's portion- a bright blue, drum-shaped tower, had the PT 109 exhibit in it which was not very impressive ( a few Japanses war mementoes, a television set playing a documentary about PT 109, and some photos), but what was most interesting was the room where icons of the sea was supposed to be. After falling around in the dark for a few minutes,(the entire exhibit is in the dark inside) there was a large empty space with a little sign on an easel detailing the accident to the 16 models and advising the exhibit would be delayed until an unspecified date. Then we tried to find something to do with Titanic- all that was left was a mock-up of the wireless room. We found the hall full of Greek amphora, and a sign mentioning Noah's Flood exhibit -never did figure out where that was. So we went to see the penguins instead- the best part being the frogs at the Swamp Things exhibit. The gift shop was overpriced, the usual Ballard books conspicuously displayed. I bought the Lost Liners soundtrack- which was the most thrilling find of the adventure, along with the frogs.
 

Inger Sheil

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Shelley, how earth could you go past the sharks? I'd've made a bee-line for that! In fact, sod the rest of it, just give me the elasmobranches.

I had to be physically removed from the front of the pelagic tank at the Monteray Bay Aquarium. When they finally got me back in 'Sheila, Queen of the Desert' I was still muttering 'Oceanic Whitetip...They have an Oceanic Whitetip...They have an Oceanic Whitetip...'

Frogs are good, although a poor substitute for sharks. My sister, with her herpatology license and halfway house for treefrogs that inadvertantly made the trip to NSW from Queensland in shipments of bananas, would have loved that one.

How was the meal, though?
 

Steve Smith

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I have it on good authority that the model damaged wasn't Titanic at all: it was actually the Olympic. The whole thing was an insurance scam....
 
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Good one Steve! (Don't give 'em any IDEAS). Forgot to mention that the Ballard exhibit begins with what passes for the stern of a research vessel, faux engine humming merrily, floating on a contrived duck pond. Said pond is full of little motorized boats which are mock-ups of other research vessels- so it's like a mini- Wood's Hole. For a fee one can rent the remote and putter around with the tiny vessels. Upon entering through a portal in the "stern", the first thing seen is a repro command center with lots of whirling lights and gears and bits like something from a Dr. Who set, and a television set playing-you guessed it- a Ballard tape -am not sure what it was he was discovering this time. A human guide would be greatly appreciated whilst stumbling around in the dark- the ceiling is full of diving submersibles and such, the walls covered with black cheesecloth scrims and the whole business is rather like groping around in a labyrinthine closet. AT one point we landed on a grating of some sort with a glass-covered circle in the floor- as signs are few and far between, we took turns guessing what it was we were peering into. Later I heard it was supposed to be something to do with constellations. Actually the SHARK! thing was in the "Immersion Theatre" but nobody was around to sell us the ticket and we were sorely disappointed. My youngest is mad for sharks and the frogs were a pale substitute. The Aquarium, which was built in 1977 is splendid and features all manner of eel, seals, belugas, seasnakes, octopi, and other denizens of the deep. The froggies were cleverly arranged in a Louisiana bayou setting and the great American bullfrog was unnerving, as well as something called a monkey-faced frog which has a humanlike face and very unsettling blue eyes which looked rather like Dorothy Malone's in THE LAST VOYAGE. Ing- you would have loved the alligators giving lethal looks from under their sun lamps-and to think they did not have ONE over-priced book to tout in the giftshop!
 
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