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Replica of third-class cabin added to museum's Titanic exhibit

Discovery Station unveils newest addition

September 08, 2011|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Julie Carbaugh, B. Marie Byers, Tom Riford, Washington County Commissioner Jeff Cline, Ken Garber and Barb McKee cut the ribbon at the grand opening of a full-size replica of a third-class cabin from the H.M.S. Titanic at the Discovery Station museum.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

On Thursday, Hagerstown resident Kathy Shipley stood in the middle of a full-size replica of a third-class cabin from the H.M.S. Titanic at the Discovery Station museum.

"It feels like we're in the Titanic," she said. "The rooms are a lot smaller than I would have thought."

The Titanic was on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City when she struck an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912, claiming 1,517 lives.

The cabin replica was unveiled Thursday morning as the newest addition to the Titanic exhibit on the first floor of the museum on Washington Street in Hagerstown.

Built by master model builder Norman Little from Waynesboro, Pa., the cabin has two double bunks, a mirror in the middle and curtains on each bed, with coat hangers at the foot of the bunks. A suitcase was on the floor of the cabin, with two sweaters on the coat hangers to simulate the room being occupied.

The replica has the same dimensions and setup as a third-class cabin on the Titanic, Discovery Station Executive Director Marie Byers said.

"Third-class cabins on the Titanic were 8-feet-by-8-feet," she said.

Byers said as many as 12 people could stay in a third-class cabin.

"People were a lot shorter back then," she said. "Men were about 5 feet 2 inches on average."

Many of those traveling third class or in steerage were emigrants traveling to the United States from Ireland and Scandinavia. A third-class ticket cost between 3 pounds and 8 pounds, according to www.historyonthenet.com.

Tom Riford, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the new addition enhances the uniqueness of the Titanic exhibit at the Discovery Station.

"There are very few museums that have replicas of the sleeping quarters of the Titanic," he said. "This is probably the most complete exhibit of the Titanic in the state of Maryland."

Riford said the exhibit contributes to the significance of the museum.

"The Discovery Station is probably the most significant downtown Hagerstown attraction," he said. "It provides opportunities for families with children to come and enjoy the many exhibits."

The Titanic exhibit has been at Discovery Station for more than two years, and people from 12 different countries have visited it, Byers said.

Little, who did not attend Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony, came up with the idea to build the replica of the cabin in early June. Once he had the materials, it took him about three weeks to build it, Byers said.

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