Titanic Exhibition at Cincinnati Museum
It is nearly impossible to pick only one, because all are special for one reason or another. But, as far as inspiring me and getting me to make a hat and resulting in months of interest afterward, I would say that would be going to the Cincinnati Museum (Union Terminal) to see the Titanic Exhibition last April (95 years and two weeks after the sinking).
The preparation was a lot of fun. I was on eBay looking for period clothing and found a great shirtwaist blouse and a cape. (Not in the colors, but we're always a little more lax when we're trying for a theme.) Then I found a skirt at a consignment shop that worked perfectly (well, in theory, at least). Oh, yes, and then I found some granny boots. I laced them with hot pink shoelaces, just to get my colors from top to bottom (because the boots are black).
The hat was my brocade one, which I describe the making of in great detail in the "Touring Hat" and "Oodles of Ideas" topics of the Crafts for Hats group on the QMB2. I also have photos posted in the Photo Gallery there. And my mother's hat was the "Puss in Boots" one with HUGE feathers that also is described (in a little less detail--in "Oodles of Ideas") and has a photo posted there.
Sadly, some members were sick that day and bowed out at the last minute, so it was only five of us who could make it. While not everyone went vintage, most tried to at least have a long skirt on. We had lunch in a beehive kiln at a restaurant high on Mt. Adams in Cincinnati. (Porkopolis is the name.) This is the site of Rookwood Pottery (which was started by a woman) and the setting was really neat (especially if you get to dine inside one of the two kilns). The food was so-so, but we'd probably still do it again, just for the ambiance.
Then we headed to the museum. Got lost on the way, which made for lots of laughs. There were two cars (some coming from Paint Lick and some from Louisville). But eventually we got there and it was hilarious walking up to what was once Union Terminal (for trains). My skirt hem stitches kept catching in my boot laces. (What these women had to go through back then!) I was doubled over laughing and trying to uncatch the threads at the same time. We called it the "Queen's wardrobe malfunction" and they still bring it up and laugh about it. After that, I walked holding the skirt out in front of me or pulled up--as if to show off my bootlaces--so I wouldn't catch it again. (Didn't always work, though.)
We got inside and there was some kind of international exhibit and lots of kids. Needless to say, we were a hit with young and old alike. Despite the fact that there was an RHS discount, we didn't see anyone else in regalia, but some others came up to us to say they were in the RHS.
Downstairs at the exhibit, each of us was given a boarding pass that gave the name and information about one of the passengers on the ship. We had an illustrious group--with the Unsinkable Molly Brown and Mrs. John Jacob Astor among us. I was Caroline Brown, widow of the publisher and co-owner of Little Brown and Co. I thought that was neat, because I'm a writer.
We had our photo taken with the solemn Captain Smith (go to my Photo Gallery to see three of us in the photo with him). The other two ladies didn't think their regalia was authentic enough and opted out.
Once we went inside, things became somber quickly. We each went at our own pace and talked in hushed tones, if at all. We had the guided tour on tape that we listened to on a hand-held phone. That added a lot to the experience. Sometimes I listened to the adult version and sometime the children's. Both were filled with interpreters quoting from newspaper accounts, diaries, and other primary sources giving accounts of life on the ship and the sinking and survival stories.
When you got to the room that depicted striking the iceberg, there was a huge block of ice you could touch as though you were leaning over the ship's railing to do so. The room was very cold and it was very dramatic.
Eventually, we made our way to the end where they posted a list of passengers. I forget if it was separate male and female or by class or both, but it told you whether you survived or not. We all survived (probably because we all were first and second class--not third class passengers among us).
Afterward, my Sister Queen and I were consumed to find out more about the ladies in our party. (As a child, she once sailed to Germany from New York back in the 1950s, so she probably was even more connected to the story than I was.) Each of us read one of the huge pictorial histories I got at the library. She was Mrs. Astor, so there was a lot to learn about her person. We shared stories for weeks afterward.
Sorry to be so long, but, as you know, I'm always longwinded!
Looking forward to hearing about other 2007 experiences! Thanks for the prompt, Queen Jane! I'm learning that being a group owner is a lot of responsibility!
Rita, Queen Foxy Loxy
Last edited by Queen Foxy Loxy (2008-01-12 13:54:58)