Last December we told you about the new Titanic Museum, a half-scale, three-deck replica of the doomed ocean liner, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Well, the museum has finally opened and in its first three weeks it ran out of souvenir polar bears in the gift shop!
I suppose if that’s the worst fate to befall the nascent attraction, it’s doing pretty well. In fact, the museum clocked 50,000 “passengers” in the first 21 days. And what is it everyone wants to see? “Guests are interested in the only Titanic lifejacket tied to an actual passenger (below)—it's the only one in the world,” says Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, owner of the Titanic Museum. “The passenger's name was Madeleine Astor, married to the richest man aboard the ship. The value of this artifact is really priceless. It has been insured for a million dollars.”
Before guests leave, many of them stop by the gift shop for a memento of their visit to the bedeviled galleyfoist. “Our most expensive item is our $250,000 ‘heart of the ocean’ necklace,” says Kellogg-Joslyn. “It's really for display. Our exclusive Titanic jewelry is very popular with the ladies. Books and videos are popular. On opening weekend we sold over 1,500 polar bears. We can not keep our Titanic bear in stock!”
Mark Orwoll, the Smart Traveler, is also the international editor at Travel + Leisure.