NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The sinking on April 15, 1912, of the RMS Titanic is still considered the worst disaster in maritime history. The largest luxury liner of its day was considered unsinkable, but struck an iceberg and sank into the icy depths of the north Atlantic, killing 1,502 passengers and crew.
More than 100 years since the ship last saw the light of day, the world’s fascination with the disaster continues. During this past year of the centennial anniversary, a museum opened in Belfast, Ireland, near where the ship was built, the 1997 movie Titanic was re-released in 3-D and Clive Palmer, an Australian businessman, announced plans to build a Titanic replica cruise ship.
“I think [Titanic] stays in our conscience because of the idea the ship was ‘unsinkable,’ the enormous loss of life, and the class gaps, between first-class and third-class, for example,” says Edward Sheehy, professor of history at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pa., who is also a maritime scholar.
In the United States, RMS Titanic Inc. is the official steward of more than 5,000 artifacts recovered from the wreckage and has put the artifacts on traveling display with the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. According to the website, more than 25 million people have viewed such exhibits since 1998.
John Joslyn, president of Titanic Museum Attractions in Branson, Mo., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., was with the company that is now RMS Titanic in 1986 when the wreckage was discovered and for subsequent dives to the wreckage beginning in 1987, which were filmed for television specials.
In 1998, a year after the surprise blockbuster movie opened, Joslyn had the idea of opening a museum. “I met an author on the tour who said I would be amazed at the mystique of Titanic and the very broad interest the ship holds with so many people,” Joslyn says.