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April 9, 2012

Titanic museums to mark anniversary of sinking

(Continued)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —

In 1987, Joslyn and a team spent 44 days at sea. The expedition dived to the site 32 times, getting hundreds of hours of ghost-like images used in the TV special "Return to Titanic...Live!"

Up to 20 descendants of those who were aboard the Titanic's ill-fated voyage are scheduled to attend ceremonies at the museums, Laney said. The Titanic Historical Society is helping coordinate the activities.

The museums, half-scale replicas of the giant ship, are home to hundreds of artifacts from survivors of the disaster and from the ocean liner. The attractions, with eerie symbolism, strive to show visitors how it felt to be part of the tragedy: They can learn how to send an SOS signal; dip their hands into 28-degree water simulating the water the night the ship sank; and feel the chill of an iceberg. Each guest gets a boarding pass of an actual Titanic passenger or crew member. At the end of the tour, they learn the fate of the passenger.

Visitors can walk hallways, parlors, cabins and a grand staircase while surrounded by the artifacts and exhibits.

The two museums are billed as exhibiting one of the largest permanent collections of Titanic artifacts and memorabilia.

The museum in Branson has had more than 5 million visitors since its opening in 2006; its counterpart in Pigeon Forge has had 2 million visitors since it opened in 2010.

The 1997 movie, which won 11 Academy Awards, starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, and is being rereleased in 3-D in time for the centennial.

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