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An expanded Web version of segments seen on CNN

Titanic artifact exhibit dredges up powerful memories

Titanic model
A model depicting the Titanic's current state is on display in Boston  
August 6, 1998
Web posted at: 10:00 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT)

From Science Correspondent Ann Kellan

BOSTON (CNN) -- The blockbuster movie "Titanic" may have depicted the ill-fated ship in all its glory, but a model at a private Boston exhibit shows what it looks like today, more than 85 years after it hit an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

"The Titanic is really a wreck that's under assault from the environment," says Charles Haas, a Titanic historian.

Articles in the exhibit at the World Trade Center include pieces of rubber flooring from the ship's dining room, a ship whistle, binoculars, dinnerware, wine, jewelry and an unopened bottle of olives.

"There's an entire suit of men's clothing," Haas says. "And you have to think about who would have worn it."

Robotic help

The items were meticulously retrieved by robotic arms that protrude from a state-of-the-art titanium submarine named Nautile, which traveled 2.5 miles underwater to reach the wreck.

Robot arm
A robot arm attatched to Nautile retrieved items from the sunken ship  

"We got here after the moon, after Everest," says George Tulloch, president of RMS Titanic. "I mean, this is really a tough place to get to."

A private, for-profit company, RMS Titanic was granted exclusive rights by a U.S. federal court to recover the Titanic remains. Its only obligation is to keep the items together as one collection.

Each dive, according to Tulloch costs about $100,000.

Once they come out of the water, every object needs special treatment.

Organic material like leather is bombarded with gamma rays to kill whatever radiation might be lurking inside it.( 225 K/ 22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

According to Tulloch, souvenir sales and the $14 admission to the exhibit more than cover the costs. The exhibit is traveling the country and occasionally brings together families linked to the tragedy.

'I'll see you in New York'

Relatives of Titanic survivors say the exhibit has special meaning for them, because it reminds them of the horror their relatives survived.

Dutch boy
This porcelain Dutch boy was retrieved from the Titanic  

Dorothy Kendle's mother and grandparents were on the Titanic.( 136 K/ 11 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

She recalls being told the story of her grandfather placing her mother and grandmother on a lifeboat and saying to them both, "I'll see you in New York." He never made it.

Marie Aks, whose husband survived the Titanic, tells the story of a 10-month-old boy who was grabbed by an angry and panicked male passenger who wanted a seat on a lifeboat.

"He grabbed the baby out of the mother's arms and threw him overboard, intending the child to land in the water, but he didn't. Instead, he landed in the lap of a woman who was sitting in the lifeboat being lowered," Aks says.

"And that's why I'm here," says Barbara Morris. "My father was saved, and that was my father."

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