A Stately Visit

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 
Still glowing from the Green Bay Packer win on Saturday, hubs and I made our way to the Indiana State Museum the following day.  We were to visit the museum back in December for his 25 Days of Christmas, but plans change.  So on the final day of the Titanic exhibit, we made our way downtown for the early afternoon.  Though it had been quite a while (December 2009) since we had been to the museum, we decided to only see two exhibits: Titanic and Odd Indiana.

Titanic had been at the museum for a while, but we weren't the only ones who waited until the last day to see the exhibit.  We arrived early, because we read we had to be at the exhibit 15 minutes prior and we also wanted to see the Odd Indiana exhibit.  Our Titanic tickets (which were $18 a piece) gave us admission to all the exhibits and I had wanted to see Odd Indiana, this was the perfect time do so.  We arrived around 11:30 and began our tour.

Odd Indiana was just that - odd - but also, disappointing.  I expected so much more from this exhibit and I need to chalk that up to the marketing department.  They had me all excited to see some very odd things - whoever did the marketing deserves a raise.  It really looked so interesting, so when we saw some basic things, I couldn't help but to be a little disappointed. 

Now, there were some great items - like the electrifying hair contraption or all of the hair art.  But some of it wasn't odd at all, leaving me questioning why it was on display.  For instance, a paper Barbie plate that was used during the opening of the Barbie exhibit in 1983.  It seemed as though they had all of these random items in their archives and thought, "how can we make an exhibit out of this?"  Some had good background stories, but overall, we walked out of the room with disappointment.

For Titanic, we were instructed to return to the exhibit 15 minutes prior to our ticket time.  Unfortunately, the timed tickets were utterly useless.  Though our ticket said 12:30 and we arrived at 12:15, we didn't get into the exhibit until 1:00.  After the 45 minute wait, we were presented with our "identities," which is probably what I was most excited for.  Right away, I knew that I "survived" because their was a quote about how my character, an Irish immigrant who was visiting her cousins in Missouri, had given a homeless man some coins and he had said to her, "there will be a tragedy, but you will survive."  Kind of a given that I survived huh?

The first room was the history of the build with a few artifacts here and there. My favorite piece in the room were the horns from the ship, as it was Tim's.  The second room showed cabins and the ship in general - there was a replica of how first class looked (both Tim and I had characters from the third class,) dishes, playing cards and lots of other items.  Though interesting, I was still looking for more information regarding the tragedy itself.  It is amazing to see all the detail that went into the boat, as well as compare how things have changed today with cruise ships (um, hello Disney's new ship, Dream?!  So jealous...)

As we began to make our way into the final room, we were stopped and told we couldn't proceed due to someone have a seizure.  Medical emergency, understandable, so we stood aside and waited.  However, the museum continued to allow people into the room which we were in, thus making it more crowded.  Not the best idea, but we continued to wait it out.  Another 45 minutes later, we were allowed into the final room through a hallway which featured another cabin replica.  Tim's character, a family man, was actually in a photograph as it was the kind of room he and his family would have had.  I thought that was fun - once again, the character part really making the exhibit for me at this point.

The final room was the best setup.  It had pieces that were presented just like they were found on the ocean floor, there was a large piece of ice you were invited to touch to showcase how cold it was, and a model of the front portion of the ship.  Someone was available to answer questions, videos were shown and signs explained how the ship was excavated.  This room was the most interesting and really allowed me to appreciate all that was done to preserve our history of the event.  I do wish the other rooms were similar in design as it was setup better for flow and the overall atmosphere matched the mood of how I felt looking at the items.

Unfortunately (but understandably), we weren't allowed to take photos within the exhibit.  But, there are some photos and other recaps over at the Doing Indy blog, so if you missed out you may get a recap over there.  Despite our delays and lack of enthusiasm from the Odd Indiana exhibit, we still left content due to the final room of the Titanic exhibit.  Though we all know the story of the ship, reading and seeing brought a whole new appreciation to those who make the study of this tragedy their life experience through finding and uncovering the history.

Have you been somewhere recently where the marketing was fantastic, only to disappoint you in the end?