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Titanic centennial: Museums, events, dinners

By Beth J. Harpaz

Associated Press

Published: Monday, March 26 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

MOLLY BROWN HOUSE MUSEUM, DENVER: More than three decades before Kate Winslet's fictional character Rose survived the Titanic in the 1997 blockbuster film, Hollywood made another movie about a real-life passenger who survived in a lifeboat, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," starring Debbie Reynolds. Brown lived in Denver, and her home, a museum that tells the story of her life, offers special Titanic-themed tours: http://www.mollybrown.org .

NEW YORK: The Titanic never arrived in New York but many New Yorkers were onboard and are buried here — both those who survived as well as those who perished. John Jacob Astor IV, said to be the richest man on the ship, is buried in Trinity Church Cemetery in Lower Manhattan. Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is home to graves and memorials for 12 people who were onboard. Among them were Isidor Straus, owner of Macy's department store, and his wife Ida, who chose to stay with her husband rather than get in a lifeboat without him, http://www.thewoodlawncemetery.org/site/.

Nine more are buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn including Douglas Spedden and his parents. When the Speddens were rescued by lifeboat, Douglas, then 6, lost a beloved teddy bear, which was later found and sent to him. The bear, purchased at FAO Schwarz, was manufactured by the famous German Steiff company, which then created a popular Titanic "mourning bear." Douglas died at age 9 after being hit by a car. His tombstone reads: "Titanic Survivor." A Titanic tour of Green-wood is sold out but you can visit the cemetery on your own, http://www.green-wood.com/.

An eight-night Titanic anniversary cruise leaves New York April 10 headed for Halifax and the disaster site, where a memorial service will be held. Bookings were still available as of March 26, and prices for a windowless stateroom had been reduced from $4,900 to $999, www.titanicanniversarycruise.com/ .

ELSEWHERE: Considering that the ship sank to the bottom of the ocean 100 years ago, it's remarkable how many Titanic artifacts (and replicas of artifacts) are on display in what seems like every corner of America. There's a Titanic Historical Society museum in Indian Orchard, Mass.; a "Titanic — 12,450 Feet Below" show at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., opening April 12; and "Titanic: 100 Year Obsession" opening at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., March 29, highlighting dives to the wreck site by Ballard and Cameron. The National Geographic exhibit will include replicas and props from the film as well as models of the ship, engine room and a radio room, http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/exhibits/2012/03/29/titanic/.

And from Premier Exhibitions, Inc., the company that brought you "Bodies: The Exhibition," Titanic exhibits are also on display at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the Natural History Museum in San Diego, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., on International Drive in Orlando, at Union Station in Kansas City, at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and opening soon at Atlantic Station in Atlanta.

Many hotels and restaurants are offering Titanic-themed packages and menus. The St. Regis Atlanta is hosting "100 Years & 100 Bottles," an April 10 reception featuring champagne, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres inspired by the last dinner aboard the ship. A $95, 10-course Titanic menu at the Blackfish restaurant in Philadelphia on April 15 includes oysters, squab and poached peaches. Molly Brown's great-granddaughter will attend a six-course Titanic-inspired meal April 14 at Denver's Oxford Hotel.

If you can't make it to Belfast, Southampton, or even Pigeon Forge or Denver, don't worry. Your chance to take part in the anniversary is coming to a theater near you with the April 4 re-release of Cameron's movie, now in 3-D.

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