In Tuesday's Orlando Sentinel, I have a story about the addition of Titanic relics to the Titanic the Experience attraction on International Drive, including a 2-ton piece of the ship's hull, the second-largest segment ever recovered from the ill-fated ship, which sank almost 100 years ago.
Here are a few left-over facts that didn't quite make it into the print story.
+ The piece of hull new to Orlando is about 10 feet long and was recovered from the starboard side of Titanic. It prominently features rivet holes, and on one end of the piece they are round, but they become increasingly oval along the length of the segment. This demonstrates the stretching of the steel upon impact.
+ It took a crane, two forklifts, a couple of trucks, several dollies and a dozen workers to guide the piece into the I-Drive exhibit, which had windows and doors removed to make an opening wide enough. I watched my toes.
+ The piece has been in Atlanta for the past year and a half, undergoing maintenance. Previous to that, it was part of a Titanic display in Melbourne, Australia.
+ The biggest recoverd piece of Titanic is on display at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas.
+ It took two tries to get this relic out of the water. In 1996, an expedition tried to lift it from the water with gasoline lift bags, but the weather was windy and uncooperative. Cables snapped, and the rescue was foiled. A second attempt in 1998 succeeded.
+ The hull segment will be standing on its side into a gantry at Titanic the Experience. Guests will be close to it but won't be allowed to touch it.
+ OK, this isn't about the hull but other artifacts that will be seen here: paper products such as postcards, playing cards, calling cards, bank notes and other currency. But wait, weren't they under water -- WAY under water? I asked Alexandra Klingelhofer, vice president of collections for RMS Titanic Inc, how that could be. I mean, you could even read handwriting on the cards (which she handled with white gloves, by the way). Turns out, all these pieces were found in leather suitcases or trunks. "Micro-organisms seems to have been repelled" by the leather, Klingelhofer says.
Friendly reminder that Titanic the Experience has been closed this week to add relics. It will reopen Friday morning.