I was Mrs. Peacock.
Not the Mrs. Peacock who was strangled with the rope in the library in a game of Clue, the real Mrs. Peacock was drowned with a child in her arms on the Titanic.
“Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” uses a clever method to invest the viewer. Each ticket to the exhibition is a copy of a real passenger ticket on the doomed steamship.
Going in, I knew the odds were long that I would survive, as Mrs. Benjamin Peacock was traveling in third class. She, her 3-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son were leaving England to meet her husband in Elizabeth, New Jersey. A mechanical engineer, he had immigrated the year before. Mrs. Peacock, pregnant at the time, had fallen ill when they were due to sail, so she stayed behind and booked passage months later on the Titanic.
Benjamin Peacock never saw his wife and daughter again, and he never met his son. They all drowned when the unsinkable ship hit an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912.
The exhibition at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas features actual objects — dishes, luggage, floor tiles — fished out of the sea, refurbished and displayed in all their eerie glory. One enormous multi-ton hunk of the ship fills one room.
Observers employ all their senses. One reads the history. Recordings whisper and shout the stories of the doomed. One room is dark and cold, like it was that night on the deck of the ship. Actual samples of a perfumer on the boat are displayed in such a way as to be able to inhale their scent.
As I completed my journey through the artifacts, I was sad, yes, because Mrs. Peacock, her children and 1,500 other souls perished, but I was enriched because I was impressed with the effort required to rescue and display the artifacts.
“Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” is worth the time and money away from the gaming tables because unlike so much else in Las Vegas, it’s real. The victims are not forgotten.