New Year’s: Eve and Day

The Big Oak Campground is canopied by several gigantic live oaks: one of which could rival the 600 year-old Senator tree in St. Augustine. A small park, full of fantastic live oaks and too many RVs.

The BIG Oak

Our site under a live oak

Today (the 31st), we went exploring a holiday-quiet Tallahassee (Florida’s capitol), which is somewhat small, similar to Albany, NY– full of high-rise office buildings, but refreshingly hilly compared to most of FL.

A government high-rise

Courtesy of Garmina, we stumbled across The Brogan MOAS, (Museum of Art and Science) where a large banner across the front beckoned, ‘TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibition’.


In the Lobby

It was a bit of a wait, but worth it! We saw historical film footage of the laying of the keel, the subsequent building of the decks, riveting the steel plate, etc, that we’d never seen before. Two photos, one at dockside as the Titanic disembarked, and one from its upper deck, had been enlarged floor-to-ceiling, to give us the feeling of personal perspective, like we were truly there: something else we’d never seen.

Painting of Titanic

The collection of carefully-conserved artifacts were from the debris field, not the ship itself. A porthole, which had popped out when the steel plates had zippered open, unbroken stacks of au gratin dishes (their wooden cupboard long ago eaten away by sea worms), a wooden-handled shaving brush (this, like currency, business cards, and ephemeral papers were protected by the tannins in leather cases or wallets) chandeliers, all three classes of dinnerware,  deck-bench ends, some leather dance slippers with silk ribbons still intact: all of these spoke out of the silence of the deep.

A young docent enthusiastically escorted us around to her favorite artifacts, while small boys got tremendously excited about a large, irregularly-shaped 12’x5’ piece of actual ice that helped give a tactile connection to that terrible night. One boy kept asking, ‘How did they do this?’ I wish someone could have told him; a child’s question is a terrible thing to waste.

The exhibit was well-scripted, with audios, videos, and sound-effects, and though there has been some controversy over this retrieval and use of any of Titanic’s artifacts, the show was well and thoughtfully done and we’re glad we happened to be there to see it.

The next floor was full of hands-on mechanical things demonstrating fun physics for kids, much like the Exploratorium, so we went to the third floor, where ‘Out of the Closet’ had some great, outside-the-box, (or closet),  sculptural pieces on a dress theme.

Dress made from sheets and linens in braided-rug fashion

The artists used mixed media in startling, exciting ways and fortunately, unlike the Titanic show where photos weren’t permitted, we got to record some of our favorites.

The Red Sisters

These appeared to be made with resin and Daguerreotypes

Tonight, back under the oaks, we had an ePod New Year’s Feast of grilled pork, with all the holiday fixings, listened to Prairie Home Companion, and now, as I write this, fireworks are popping and booming around Big Oak in firework-friendly Florida.

We must go out to see the pretty half-moon in the spreading branches of the oaks and maybe some starbursts as well.

Happy New Year!

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