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Exhibit displays smorgasbord of Titanic's elegance

champagne bottle May 27, 1997
Web posted at: 5:15 p.m. EDT (2115 GMT)

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN) -- For those on board the Titanic in 1912, life was rich with Edwardian elegance and extravagance.

China cups, silver trays, diamond cufflinks -- all were signs of the lifestyle of the passengers aboard the ill-fated ship, which hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank in one of the world's most dramatic disasters. About 1,500 people died.

Now, visitors to a special exhibit at The Pyramid in Memphis can get a look at more than 300 objects recovered from the wreckage of the Titanic, which lies 2 1/2 miles beneath the ocean surface.

pot and cup

Some of what has been recovered is amazing and intriguing, including a check from one the three elegant restaurants on board, preserved despite 85 years underwater. Vintage champagne from the 1880s was found with corks still intact.

After being brought to the surface, many objects had to be restored, with decades of corrosion and grime carefully removed.

For instance, a jacket worn by one of the stewards who went down with the ship was found in a ball of tar. After restoration, you can now read his name -- Broome.

But other items recovered were in remarkably good shape, including some jewels passengers wore when they dressed for dinner and the silver used for first-class service.


"These pieces were recovered in very incredible condition -- needed little restoration work," said Steve Masler, curator of the exhibit.

The relics from the ship will be on display in Memphis through September.

Correspondent Carolyn O'Neil contributed to this report.  

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