Book signing at Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

June 13, 2013
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I signed books on June 8 in the museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The gift shop there has an extensive array of Titanic books.

I was invited to do a book signing the weekend of June 8-9 at the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The museum has been carrying our book since March as it gets a number of visitors from the Midwest. This museum, and its companion in Branson, Mo., features artifacts and memorabilia about the Titanic loaned from personal collections along with re-creations of areas on the ship, such as the grand staircase, first-class stateroom and the bridge. A highlight of the exhibit while I was there was the temporary display of the long-lost Wallace Hartley violin. It will go on to the Branson location after leaving Pigeon Forge before being auctioned in October. The violin, in its case, was found strapped to Hartley’s body when it was recovered after the disaster. He was one of the musicians who played on deck as the ship went down. The band was reported by many to have played “Nearer My God, to Thee.” The violin was sent back to his fiancee in England and remained with her descendants over the years until one of them contacted the Aldridge auction house in England. It took seven years for experts to authenticate the violin. It bears a metal plate stating, “For Wallace On the occasion of our engagement From Maria.” To read more about it, check out the press release  on the home page of the museum. Other highlights that are part of the permanent collection are the Father Browne photos (he was a priest and amateur photographer who got on board at Southampton and got off in Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, taking with him the only images of the maiden voyage).There is also a gallery on the James Cameron film, with several actual costumes from the movie on display. Here are a few photos of the exterior of the museum (no photos allowed inside).  — Mary Ann

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The ticket office and gift shop entrances are in a replica of a White Star Line building.

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Looking straight on at the bow of Titanic as the ship appears to be heading right for you. The fatal iceberg is on the left and the White Star Line building is on the right. That’s real water and spray from the bow.

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Looking up at the replica of the ship from this vantage point almost makes you feel like you are dockside in Southampton waiting to get on board.

 

Titanic artifact exhibit back in Cleveland

June 13, 2013
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A light-projection image of the sinking Titanic greets visitors to the Great Lakes Science Center as they enter from the parking garage.

The Titanic artifact exhibit opened on June 1 at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio; it will remain until Jan. 5.  About 10 of us area Titanic buffs met there to tour the exhibit.  I thought the highlight was seeing the crow’s nest bell. It is very effectively presented, in a darkened space, with the recorded sounds of a ship’s bell playing softly in the background. The science center also has installed a nice display about the Northeast Ohio Titanic connections, with wall panels highlighting the stories of nearly a dozen of the people who were traveling to this region on the Titanic. These are on the wall just as you exit the exhibit space. Of course our group had to gather by the Ohio Titanic Memorial, which is just outside the science center, for a group photo. I’m also pleased to announce that the Titanic gift shop associated with the exhibit is carrying our book. Here are a few more pictures from the day.  — Mary Ann

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This banner hangs above the escalator in the Great Lakes Science Center.

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The wind gave most of us a “bad hair day” as we posed for a photo by the Ohio Titanic Memorial outside the Great Lakes Science Center.

Titanic sailing back into Cleveland!

March 15, 2013

Titanic returns!

I just recently heard from the folks at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland that the science center will be hosting the Titanic artifact exhibit starting June 1. The exhibit was last in Cleveland in 2002, during the 90th anniversary year.  Janet White and I, and many others in the region with an interest in or personal connections to the Titanic were very involved with the exhibit during that time, providing family mementoes for display or doing programs or serving as volunteers.  The return of the artifacts recovered from Titanic’s wreck site offers another opportunity to tell the state’s and Northeast Ohio’s Titanic stories. I hope that many throughout the region will be touched by those stories.

In addition, in 2002, a group of us created the informal organization, the Great Lakes Titanic Society, and put on a conference titled “Titanic: From Sinking to Salvage.” You can find photos from that event on the society’s Scrapbook page (scroll all the way to the bottom, it’s the very first entry):

http://www.glts.org/scrapbook/

Through that conference, we raised funds to install an Ohio Titanic Memorial on the grounds of the Great Lakes Science Center. Check out photos from the installation of the memorial here:

http://www.glts.org/scrapbook/memorial/

and the memorial dedication:

http://www.glts.org/scrapbook/dedication/

In addition, for the story of how the memorial came about, and to see more photos, visit this page:

http://www.glts.org/memorials/glts/

Here are a couple of photos from 2002. They were taken at a special event the science center hosted to give those with an interest in or connection to the Titanic a chance to gather and talk to science center staffers and share their family stories and mementoes.

Mary Ann & Titanic nav lamp 2002

Mary Ann gets up close and personal with a Titanic headlamp that was on display in the Great Lakes Science Center auditorium for this special event in 2002.

Mary Kerola and Janet White

Mary Kerola, daughter of Youngstown-bound Titanic survivor Shaneene George, looks over some newspaper articles about her mother with Janet White during the special science center event in 2002. When the exhibit was in Cleveland in 2002, Mary got to see the recovered lifeboat davit from Collapsible C, the very lifeboat in which her mother was rescued. Mary was 98 when this photo was taken.  She died in 2009 at the age of 104.

In 2002, the Great Lakes Science Center featured a special room highlighting The Northern Ohio Story during the Titanic exhibit run. They hope to have a similar display this time. Here’s a photo of one section of the 2002 display:

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Each panel in “The Northern Ohio Story” display at the Great Lakes Science Center in 2002 told the story of  one or more passengers with Ohio connections.

I hope everyone in the region gets a chance to see the exhibit! — Mary Ann

Ohio’s Titanic Connections program at University Heights library

January 29, 2013
Univ Hts library display

The library created a nice Titanic display near the outside entrance, including our book and others.

I presented a program on Ohio’s Titanic Connections at the University Heights branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights library on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. It was a cold and snowy day but a small crowd came out, including a few people who have had a lifelong interest in the Titanic, or just local history. Everyone seemed really fascinated to learn of our area’s connections to the Titanic disaster. Thanks to Aurora Martinez for inviting me and the library for providing coffee and delicious Heinen’s doughnuts for us to enjoy.

— Mary Ann

Program at Lorain Public Library

October 24, 2012

Mary Ann chats with people who attended the Lorain library program after the talk.

I did a talk at the Lorain Public Library on Oct. 20, 2012, on Ohio’s Titanic connections, along with a book signing. About 15 people came out on a dreary, chilly day.  A range of folks attended, including some young people — it’s always good to see kids and teenagers still interested in Titanic’s fascinating story. And there is a lot of Ohio history connected to the story, which I hope they discovered from the program. Thanks to Scott Machol at the library for inviting me.

— Mary Ann

East Side to West Side: Talks in University Heights and Amherst, Ohio

October 10, 2012

On Sept. 27, I did a program on Ohio’s Titanic connections for the senior citizens group at the University Heights library. Since I live in University Heights myself, it was interesting to do a program right in my own backyard and tell the group about some of the very local connections, such as survivor Caroline Bonnell, who later lived in the adjoining suburb of Shaker Heights.

I also spoke to a group in Amherst, Ohio, at the historic Nordson Depot, on Oct. 3. The program was arranged by the Friends of the Amherst Public Library. The building is a historic brick railroad depot that has been remodeled into a community meeting room. A very nice facility in which  to hold a history-oriented talk.  The Friends of the Library brought cookies and cider as a fall treat on a pleasant autumn night. There was quite a good crowd, maybe 20 or 30 people and everyone seemed quite interested in Ohio’s links to the famous ship, and they asked quite a few questions afterwards.

Here are a few photos from that evening.  — Mary Ann

The historic Nordson Depot in Amherst

An Amherst station sign is now inside the Nordson Depot.

Mary Ann (right) with one of the people who attended the talk and purchased a copy of Ohio Tales of the Titanic

We’ve just received our second printing!

September 26, 2012

Janet White and Mary Ann Whitley are happy to announce that they’ve done a second printing of Ohio Tales of the Titanic. Our first printing of 400 books was almost sold out so we have printed 200 more.

In the rush to get our book out by April for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, naturally there were things we didn’t notice until later. And we were given new or corrected information by readers in some cases after the book came out.  We’ve  included all these changes in the second printing. (Who knows, there may be more if the book goes into a third printing!)

The list of changes can be seen in the page “Corrections made for second printing” on the right side of the blog page.

Thanks to all for their interest in and support of our book.

Titanic and tea at Andover Public Library

September 23, 2012

Library Director Susan Hill, with an appropriate hat, serves tea before the Titanic talk.

Fancy teacups and lots of goodies await the guests.

Tea is served . . .

Janet White displays her collection of replicas of Titanic china for first class, second class and third class.

Mary Ann Whitley (left) and Janet White (right) sign a copy of their book Ohio Tales of the Titanic for one of the ladies who attended the talk.

Gazette Newspapers Editor Doris Cook, left, interviews Mary Jo Knuth and Joann Knuth, descendants of Titanic survivor Shaneene George, who was traveling to Youngstown.

On Saturday, Sept. 15, Janet White and Mary Ann Whitley presented a program on Ohio’s Titanic connections at the Andover Public Library in eastern Ohio. Andover is a small town near the Pennsylvania border. Susan Hill, director of the library, invited us, and also hosted (with the help of the Friends of the Library) a late morning tea. Tablecloths and vases of flowers set the mood for the group who attended, and two tables offered pretty flowered plates and teacups, teapots full of different types of tea, and plates of pastries, cookies and other goodies as well as little tea-party sandwiches. Everything was delicious! Some of the ladies who attended got into the spirit of the Titanic era by wearing hats.

Special guests on this day were two descendants of Titanic survivor Shaneene George, who was traveling to Youngstown. Shaneene’s granddaughter Joann Knuth and her great-granddaughter Mary Jo Knuth attended. The Knuths had brought with them their friends Lita and Raymond Kovacs, who also have an Ohio Titanic connection. Lita’s aunt’s sister was married to Paul Lundi, son of Titanic survivor Anna Turja, who was heading to Ashtabula.

We had a great time. Those attending seemed to enjoy the stories of Ohio people on board the ship and asked a number of questions.

Beautiful Titanic tiles from an Ohio studio

September 4, 2012

           Pictured above, Fog Gray color variation

The Artists’ Open Studio in Norwalk, Ohio, produced these Titanic Reflections  tiles (with a design inspired by the floor tiles used in some second-class and third-class areas of the Titanic) to commemorate the 100th anniversary.  The fleur de lis design on these unique small tiles is created from recycled bottle glass, which is fired onto glazed stoneware tile.  The resulting product sparkles, as the glass picks up the light. They can be used as coasters or trivets or as decorative items.  Besides the color combination shown above, which is called Fog Gray, they also come in two other combinations  called Antique Olive and Nutmeg Olive. Here are photos of the other two colors:

Above, Antique Olive; below, Nutmeg Olive

Artists’ Open Studio was created for adults with disabilities from Huron County. Artists work independently but with support and encouragement from the group. They come from many walks of life and with varied skills.

Price and shipping: the tiles are $9.00 each. Or you can order 4 tiles for $32.00 (for a discounted price of $8.00 each).  Up to 12 tiles can be shipped in a flat-rate box via the U.S. Postal Service for $11.35. To order the Titanic tiles, email titanictiles@gmail.com or zkimzim@aol.com .

For more information about the studio and tiles, you may also contact:

Lynda Stoneham

Artists’ Open Studio, Inc.

306 South Norwalk Road West

Norwalk, OH 44857

Phone: 419-668-8840, Ext. 141

Lynda’s email: l.stoneham@hurondd.com

A 96-year-old fan!

August 2, 2012

Catherine Proske reading a copy of Ohio Tales of the Titanic.

My co-worker Bob Proske recently went to visit his mother in Cincinnati and took along Ohio Tales of the Titanic, which he was reading. His mother, Catherine Proske, age 96, started reading the book while he was there and “she couldn’t put it down,” according to Bob. Seems she was quite fascinated with all the stories about Ohio’s connections to the Titanic. Thanks, Catherine, for your interest! — Mary Ann