Dr. Walker and I are "getting our Titanic on..."
Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to the Pittsburgh Science Center to view the Titanic Exhibit. To say I was excited is an understatement. I was able to see first-hand artifacts from the wreckage, spend the day with good friends, and gain new insight into the world of the Titanic. First, let me say going to Pittsburgh with Dr. Walker is an absolute pleasure. She confidently navigates the city with ease and has a broad knowledge base of the city and all its neighborhoods. When The Bibbed Wonder or I drive in the city, it is a white-knuckle ride to our destination. We do what needs to be done and get out—all the while stressing, swearing, and sweating bullets. Traveling with Dr. Walker is like having one's own personal tour guide. Also, a plus is that she never swears, stresses, or cries. She is a breath of fresh air.
Do you remember the soap I created called Moonlight Sonata? The little oil company I buy my oils from shared an oil blend based on a perfumer who traveled on the Titanic and lost all his samples in the sinking. This was the inspiration for the Moonlight Sonata soap and moisturizer. Well, dear reader, I saw those tiny glass perfumery bottles in real life. The vials have laid at the bottom of the ocean, in a leather satchel, for almost one hundred years. Of the sixty-five vials lost, they recovered sixty-two of the vials, utterly intact with most of the small paper labels. Some of the vials had remnants of the perfumes in them. Also, most of the vials continue to hold the ghost of the scent of these perfumes. I found this fact absolutely fascinating. I also saw a picture of the man who created this scent and learned about his life before and after the tragic sinking of the world's most famous ship. That was the highlight of my day.
The exhibit plaque read:
The perfumer's name was Adolphe Saalfeld. Saslfeld was a perfume maker from Manchester, England. At the age of 47, he boarded Titanic as a first-class passenger, carrying with him a leather portfolio filled with some of his most recent perfume samples.
At the time Titanic sailed, the American perfume market was booming, and Saalfeld may have planned to sell his fragrances to department stores in New York and other major cities.
Adolphe Saalfelf survived the sinking but left his perfumes behind. Of the 65 vials packed in his luggage, 62 were recovered from the ocean floor along with the leather portfolio in which they were transported.
Some surviving perfume vials may still contain remnants of Saalfeld's samples, retaining a faint aroma.
I believe, dear reader, that after my new connection with this man and his story, Moonlight Sonata will have to make a comeback this year. However, Abby Walker suggests purchasing Titanic-shaped silicone ice cube molds and making miniature ships for the top of the soap. I think this idea is genius! Moonlight Sonata may make a return with a new and authentic look.
With the purchase of tickets for the exhibit, each individual is given a boarding pass complete with an actual passenger's name, background information, class of travel, and cabin number. I think this was my second favorite part of the exhibit. At the end of the exhibition, one scans their card and is given detailed information about their passenger and if that person survived or perished. Of course, I was given a third-class passenger named Jane Curry. Ms. Curry did not survive, and her body was never recovered. I often tease that my irrational fear of water is based upon a past life experience where I drowned during the sinking of the Titanic. I also often tease that, of course, I would be a third-class passenger, like a scullery maid, and not one of the wealthy elite. My drawing of Ms. Curry's passport further validates my belief, which is only half in jest.
If you have the opportunity to experience Titanic at the Pittsburgh Science Center, I highly recommend it. It is fascinating, very well done, hands-on, and very informative. If one is old enough to understand the story of Titanic, one will enjoy it. I also suggest viewing the movie before attending. The movie helps one understand the story, the history, and the passengers in a very personal way. Also, on Saturdays at 7 o'clock, one can view the movie in the Ringo Theatre at the Science Center. This would make for a wonderful family outing or a date night. When given the opportunity to view history up close and personal, one should always take it.
On this bitterly cold but blissfully sunny day, stay safe, be smart, expand your knowledge, enjoy history, and keep washing your hands.