PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — April 15 marks the day the titanic sank, and it’s now considered a day of remembrance. Although the accident happened back in 1912 while sailing in the North Atlantic ocean, it still remains one of the most popular ships remembered in modern day history, and the famous ship’s story continues to be told.
One person sharing that story is Mary Kellogg. She is the president and co-owner of Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge.
“She (Titanic) started her maiden voyage on April 10, 1912, 111 years ago. She traveled the four days with smooth sailing on the sea, and on that fourth night, they heard the most famous words, ‘iceberg right ahead,’ and 37 seconds later they hit that iceberg, and two hours and forty minutes later, she’s gone,” Kellogg said. “So she sat at the bottom of the ocean for over 75 years and nobody could find her, and finally Dr. Ballard and the French team found her and reunited her with the world and brought her attention.”
That attention only increased after Kellogg and her husband created the Titanic Museum that opened back in April of 2010.
“We were both television producers at the time, and my husband had finished a major television show and he said to me, ‘I think for my next television show, I’m going to go to the bottom of the ocean and look at the Titanic,'” Kellogg said.
Her husband became the second person to go to the Titanic and spent 44 days at sea. He and his crew completed 32 dives to the sunken ship. Once that was over, the drive to share more about the Titanic didn’t end for Kellogg’s husband, John Joslyn. That’s when he decided, he wanted to build a museum.
“I knew nothing about Titanic, I had another career in television, and so I joined forces with John and said, ‘let’s build it together.'”
What they built is the largest Titanic Museum attraction in the world. It’s docked in Pigeon Forge where over 400 artifacts are on display. Visitors have the chance to experience life as one of the 2,208 passengers from 44 different nations that were on board. Out of those passengers, 135 were children. Kellogg said they decided this year, they would focus on the children for the remembrance day because there is a lot that people don’t realize about the young kids that were on board.
“One story that is really not known, is that there were two children that would have never been reunited with their mother if the Titanic hadn’t gone down, because their father took them without her realizing and they were separated and he put them on the Titanic,” Kellogg said. “The world called them the Titanic Orphans and newspapers all over the world were saying, ‘who are these children?'”
Luckily the newspapers made it to the mother’s doorsteps in France and she was able to reunite with them shortly after. Stories like this one are what Kellogg wants to be able to continue to share with visitors at the museum.
“It isn’t really about the ship, it’s about the stories,” she said. “That’s why we create the boarding passes, you receive one when you come, you’re able to go through the museum and find out the fate of your passenger.”
As the museum recognizes the 135 passengers that were kids this year, they also wanted to take the opportunity to find a way to give back.
“We tie in with Samaritan’s Feet now. They’ve given out nine million pairs of shoes, and we are going to help them reach their 10 million shoe distribution by the end of December,” Kellogg said.
For more on the Titanic Museum, visit their website, and to learn about the nonprofit they are supporting, Samaritan’s Feet has more about their initiative on their website.