Preservation is an ongoing
struggle to protect artifacts
The sinking of Titanic was an event that shocked the world. Thousands of lives were touched by the tragedy. All that we know about Titanic comes from the accounts and the stories
of the survivors, the rescuers and the people directly involved in the tragedy. There were countless acts of bravery and sacrifice that occurred that night. The stories of too many have been lost forever.
Thankfully, many have been preserved through the continuing efforts of the Titanic Historical Society. What Edward Kamuda started in 1963 has grown to become an internationally known and recognized organization. A key focus of the society is in gathering and preserving and telling the stories of the
survivors and the people involved. History is made by people and their actions in times of extreme difficulty. The Titanic Historical Society is without equal in its effort to preserve the accurate account of what happened that night in the cold North Atlantic.
Titanic survivors and crew members of Carpathia, the rescue ship, and their families have donated hundreds of artifacts, letters, postcards and their given accounts of what happened
that night. It's now our duty to see that these historical treasures and the stories and the memories of those lost at sea and the survivors are preserved forever.
Preservation is ongoing and is one of the largest expenses that any museum or collection faces. We recently received one of the life boats used in James Cameron's
movie "Titanic." (see "FREE doesn't mean without costs", right-hand column) This is an example of just one in the collection. We have hundreds of items: letters, postcards, pictures, wireless messages, log books and all need attention. All can be lost if not protected and
We are working toward creating a permanent museum that will allow for much more attractive display and will also help reduce the costs of ongoing preservation.
The Preservation Fund exists to help preserve the collection from the effects of time. Silver and Gold Membership renewals help with our preservation efforts but more funds are constantly needed.
If you are in a position to contribute more, your help will be greatly appreciated. History is about real people and it is preserved by real people who care. Please renew your membership, or join our organization if you are not a member and if you can contribute
to our preservation fund.
A faded wireless message...
A faded wireless message...
A piece of paper measuring about 6 X 10 inches, its physical heaviness hardly noticeable has a tremendous weight of history.
Otto Reuter, First Operator on S.S. Amerika, a German liner enroute across the Atlantic, sent a wireless message to Titanic's Marconi operator, Jack Phillips, on April 14, 1912 warning of two large icebergs Amerika had just sighted and their location. Phillips was swamped with work at
the time and did not deliver that critical message to the bridge. As a result Titanic did not change her course. Early next morning Titanic was sending out signals of distress and sinking in the proximity where Amerika had sighted the icebergs.
Years later in the 1960s, Edward Kamuda wrote of his pursuit of Titanic history to the elderly, retired wireless operator living in East Germany. Reuter, fascinated that a young man was writing about a historical incident which he had been a part, had kept his copy of the message. After exchanges
of correspondence, Reuter explained he longed for some good pipe tobacco -- the simple pleasures we take for granted were a luxury to people in a Communist country -- he offered a swap -- his message for a tin of pipe tobacco. Kamuda sent him not one, but two tins of Prince Albert.
That remarkable wireless message, on display in The Titanic Museum, is one of the key pieces of history in the entire Titanic chronicle. If that message had reached the bridge, the story that engrosses millions of people to this day, might not have happened.
FREE doesn't mean
At a recent Titanic Historical Society event, a crowd awaited the unveiling of this collapsible lifeboat. The replica is indeed impressive and will be a highlight in the new museum. Seeing a large life-size object up close like this boat or a liner's anchor helps visitors to envision how big these ocean
Paul Louden-Brown described the challenges that every museum encounters with new acquisitions. An acquisition, the event guests learned was only the beginning. Ed Kamuda addressed the gathering: "A couple of years ago 20th Century Fox contacted the THS inquiring if we were interested in a lifeboat...."
The crowd applauded loudly and he continued, "It was a loan, free, the only thing THS had to pay was the cost of shipping...and being a collapsible, there was less of a chance it would be needed... The other Titanic lifeboats were used in the recent movie, Pearl Harbor.
Cross country transport was over $7,000; a vehicle was necessary to unload then transfer to a boatyard. The cost of a boat trailer, storage, repair and rebuilding totaled between $12 - 13,000. Of course this doesn't include outfitting with oars, sails, lifejackets, hardware or items a lifeboat requires
or its maintenance. The point Ed got across was "free" doesn't mean there are no costs and some THS members realized for the first time what preservation means.