Today was an awesome day! We arrived at the museum early at 9:30 AM at the same time as several others at the THS Convention. It was very kind of the owners of the Titanic museum here in Pigeon Forge to grant free access to the museum for the duration of the convention. There was so much there, I am overwhelmed trying to remember everything I saw. It was a real treat to see the pennies Thomas Millar gave his boys just before he left on the Titanic to his death. It was also neat to see all these copies of Father Browne's photographs and things from the 3rd class passengers including a Bible which one of the passengers clutched as she left the ship. There was also a number of things from 2nd class passenger Rev. John Harper who is one of my favorite Titanic heroes. It was neat to see things from the 1997 film like clothes and hats. The coolest parts were standing on the Bridge at the wheel and walking up and down the Grand Staircase. To only see black and white photographs of the Grand Staircase and imagine what it was like to be on there is one thing. To physically walk up those steps is quite another experience and it is amazing. On top of seeing all these neat artifacts and more, what made the experience truly special was to tour it with George Behe and Tim Trower and hear their immense knowledge of the ship as they discussed various issues throughout the exhibit. That was something I'll never forget.
In the evening, we went up to Buckberry Lodge in the Smokey Mountains. The view was stunning and gorgeous and the food was just wonderful. It was a real treat! The people there were lovely and we got the great privilege of sitting at the same table as the Kamudas (who founded the THS) and Joselyns (who founded the Titanic museums in Branson and Pigeon Forge). Just before dinner, we met Douglas Willingham who is a distant cousin of 1st class passenger Maj. Archie Butt. The dinner was a 3 course meal which began with a salad, then a chicken breast with rice and green beans, and New York Cheesecake. After the dinner and some wonderful discussions about Titanic and Classical Music with others nearby, everybody gathered in the big room where current and former officers of the THS spoke about interesting experiences. Paul Loudon-Brown, George Behe, Don Lynch, and Karen Kamuda all spoke. Then Ed Kamuda got up and read letters from absent officers of the past. Afterwards, I got some copies of my books signed by Bill Wormstedt, Don Lynch, and George Behe! I feel so blessed to have not only wonderful books such as On A Sea Of Glass, A Death on the Titanic, The Loss of the SS Titanic: Centennial Reappraisal, and Exploring the Deep all signed by 1-2 of their authors. This day definitely ranks high among the best days in my life.