There are few stories that bring out all human emotions as the story of the Titanic. For many, it was a showcase of architectural genius that had never been witnessed in the history of shipbuilding. Pomp reached its zenith. Yet the largest ship that had set sail—which was referred to as unsinkable—would dramatically go down in the dead of night on 15th April 1912. What more? This was the ship’s maiden trip. And with that catastrophic disappearance, it never made a single transatlantic voyage.
This maritime disaster, one of the deadliest in maritime history, caught the public imagination—in a manner that was only comparable to a handful of other incidents. Several museums in the United States provide visitors with the chance to relive this experience. But which of these is the best? We take a look.
These Are The Titanic Museums And Exhibitions In the United States
Before we compare them, it’s important to identify all the Titanic museums in the United States. There are five Titanic museums in the United States. The very fact that we have that number, all telling and retelling the same story, is an indication of how the tragedy is rooted deep in the socio-cultural psyche of the republic. There’s a Titanic museum in Branson, Missouri. Another Titanic museum is in Pigeon Forge, Tennesee. Sin City is also home to a famous Titanic exhibition at the Luxor Hotel & Casino.
The fourth Titanic museum is in Orlando, Florida. And then the fifth and last is in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Our order here is not chronological. For instance, while the Massachussettes museum comes last in our order, it’s actually the oldest Titanic museum in the United States having been established in 1963. Aside from these, there are other learning centers that have richly documented the story of the Titanic. In this respect, the Maritime Museum at Battleship Cove, previously the Marine Museum at Fall River, is worth a mention.
Here’s How All The Titanic Museums In The United States Compare (& Our Best Pick)
Let’s get this straight off the bat. Considering the presence of the Big Piece at the Luxor Hotel & Casino, and the sheer volume of artifacts on show, Sin City has, in our assessment, the country’s finest Titanic exhibition. The reason why the Big Piece is a huge factor is that—as of now—it’s the largest recovered part of Titanic anywhere else in the world. It’s so big that it occupies its own room at the Las Vegas exhibition. This slice of the sunken marvel weighs a mind-boggling 15 tons and measures 26 by 12 feet.
Yet, to put all these in clear perspective, it’s but a tiny fraction of the Titanic. For those wondering what part of the ship the Big Piece is—It’s a section of Titanic’s starboard side hull. And then again, Luxor is not just about the Pig Piece. Aside from the Big Piece, Luxor is home to countless other artefacts including more than 20 never-before-seen authentic artifacts such as gaming chips, passenger personal papers, and decorative sections from titanic’s famed grand staircase. Finally, unlike other Titanic Museum destinations, Vegas is literally a world of several other attractions that would make a visit quite memorable.
How Other Titanic Museums In The United States Compare
Now that Vegas has taken the palm, how do the other sites compare? Difficult question. However, we’d go with Pigeon Forge, Tennessee—as the second-best pick. The reason Pigeon Forge is an exciting option is the chance to see the Grand Staircase. Of course, it’s a replica. Still, it’s almost a carbon copy. The Grand Staircase, spanning the ship’s six decks was an impressive part of the ship—that was as lavish as it was opulent. But the Grand Staircase was also a major focal point in James Cameron’s multiple-award-winning 1997 film as well. Of course, as with the Luxor, Pigeon Forge is not all about the Grand Staircase. There’s ice water and a modest iceberg that makes the experience delightfully immersive.
Our third pick will have to go to Branson. Granted, the difference is not huge. Perhaps this is because the two spots are owned by the same entity: Cedar Bay Entertainment LLC. The Titanic Museum at Branson is known to have many unique artifacts. It also offers several interactive and personal encounters including an iceberg—though not as big as the one in Pigeon Forge. Our fourth pick will have to be the Titanic Museum in Orlando Florida, which has a small piece of the Big Piece. That’s to mean that a small part broke off from the Big Piece that’s in Las Vegas. There are other interesting artifacts as well like the Titanic’s speed controller.
Rounding off our ranking is the Titanic museum located in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts—and showcasing a 9-foot model of the ill-fated ship. Whichever place one chooses, the story of the Titanic strikes differently, when one relives it in a museum.