Saturday’s Titanic 100th Anniversary Event at Henry Ford Museum was a fitting honor to the innovation and tragedy that is so profoundly the story of the Titanic.
At 7 p.m., a string quartet played classical music as guests were greeted by the captain with a champagne toast and an elegant first-class inspired selection of hors d’oeuvres. Photo opportunities were abundant.
Many of the 425 people attending were costumed in attire of the era. Some donned authentic vintage apparel and accessories or replicas of clothing of the time. Many wore elegant gowns and suiting inspired by Elizabethan styling, while others dressed in contemporary cocktail and evening wear. It was a handsome crowd.
During the event, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition was open to guests, who visited with each other as they prepared to receive their boarding passes.
Guests were called for a late-night dinner inspired by menu items similar to what would have been served to second-class passengers aboard the Titanic.
Dessert and dancing with live music followed.
Saturday night’s event graciously celebrated the innovation of the ship, while it thoughtfully memorialized those many lives lost to tragedy on that fateful voyage.
Guests were Titanic history enthusiasts, Titanic movie lovers, those touched personally by the story, and those interested in experiencing the ship’s history in a unique way.
One guest, Janet Rheume, shared that both her paternal and maternal families (unrelated at the time) were affected by the tragedy. Her father’s mother had passage booked along with her family to travel on the Titanic. A late change in plans and a need to accommodate more family members resulted in the need to cancel and make the journey to the United States on another ship – avoiding the tragedy. Her maternal grandmother was related to the ship’s captain – Edward Smith.
People eagerly shared stories of collecting replica artifacts, their quest for costumes and dressing for the event, their love of James Cameron’s movie, their interest in the deep-sea expeditions to the site of the wreckage, and – mostly – how they are touched by the stories of the many people whose lives were forever changed. The evening ended with a moving tribute.
The story of the Titanic continues to fascinate because of its grand style, innovative design and complex construction. Before its voyage, the Titanic was celebrated for its potential and all that it could be. After its tragic demise and the unthinkable happened to the “unsinkable,” that modern marvel’s place in history took a fortuitous turn. A multitude of lessons were (and continue to be) learned from what the Titanic became. Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” The Titanic disaster has proved that – from it came profound reforms in safety for the shipping industry.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is at Henry Ford Museum through Sept. 30, 2012. James Cameron’s Titanic: An IMAX 3D Experience is now showing as is the fascinating documentary Titanica – an IMAX adventure that takes the audiences to the ocean floor to the Titanic wreckage prior to artifact recovery.
For more photos from the event, be sure to visit The Henry Ford’s Facebook album.