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Friday, April 30, 2010

Titanic Pigeon Forge Opens To Public

The Chattanoogan

Titanic Pigeon Forge, a 30,000-square-foot ship-shaped structure situated on 5.69 acres, opened to the public on Thursday, adding yet another item to the list of things to do in Pigeon Forge TN.

The new $25 million permanent museum is a half-scale, three-deck reproduction of the Titanic. The museum houses 20 galleries that display hundreds of authentic Titanic artifacts that were carried from the ship and into lifeboats by passengers and crew and those found afloat soon after the ship sunk.

Governor Phil Bredesen sent a letter read at the event by Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, assistant commissioner of Community and Industry Relations for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

“Very few sites offer so much in the way of interesting, entertaining, high quality attractions as Pigeon Forge; and all Tennesseans are proud of what this city does to make our state one of the top tourist destinations in America,” Governor Bredesen said in the letter.

“The Titanic museum attraction will now be a part of that tourism family. It will celebrate the lives of the 2,223 souls who embarked on a voyage into history and tell the compelling story of the memorable events that took place April, 1912, that led to the loss of 1,517 of them.”

The grand opening ceremony was hosted by Regis Philbin, best known for his television shows, including “Live With Regis & Kathy Lee,” “Live With Regis & Kelly” and “Who Wants to be A Millionaire,” and was attended by hundreds of guests, including descendants and family members of those aboard the Titanic.

During the “Live with Regis & Kelly” show on Friday, Mr. Philbin talked about his visit to attractions in Pigeon Forge and christening the new museum. He also discussed his visit to Dollywood, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and his stay at The Inn at Christmas Place.

Inside the interactive attraction, visitors find full-size reproductions, built to actual Titanic blueprints, of a first class suite, first class hallways, third class accommodations and an exact reproduction of the grand staircase, the museum’s centerpiece.