Exhibit explores heyday of Atlantic Ocean luxury liners In this May 18, 2017 photo, a visitor views newsreel footage near a model of the Queen Elizabeth at an exhibition entitled "Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed, and Style" at the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Exhibit explores heyday of Atlantic Ocean luxury liners
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This was the golden era for ocean travel. It was when ladies wore floor-length ball gowns, sometimes with parasols in hand. Gents donned flared frock-coats that gave them an hour-glass figure. The style was inspired by Prince Albert.
 
Opulence and beauty were paramount for the cruise liner.
 
Fans can now relive this bygone era through some telltale relics on display at a new exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum. The museum is in Salem, Massachusetts. It partnered with London's Victoria and Albert museum for the show.
 
The exhibit is called "Ocean Liners: Glamor, Speed, and Style." It tells a narrative of society's love of ocean travel and how these ships evolved over the 100 years they ruled the seas.
 
"Ocean liners conveyed ideas. They were this special place where anything was possible," said Daniel Finamore. He is a curator for the museum's exhibit.
 
Indeed, glamour, speed and style were ideas with which ocean liners were associated. The public was most fascinated by speed. "The latest ship had to be the fastest," Finamore said.
 
There are more than 200 works from the 19th and 20th centuries on display. These include textiles, furniture, models, photographs and fashion.
 
Of course, any visual story about ocean liners wouldn't be complete without some artifacts from the "unsinkable" Titanic. The liner broke apart and sank in 1912. It went down after the ship's captain ignored warnings and steered the boat into an iceberg at speeds meant to impress passengers.
 
From the Titanic, there is a framed advertisement for second- and third-class bunks available on the voyage from New York back to London. Tickets started at $36.25 for the voyage on April 20, 1912. Of course, that trip never happened.
 
There's also a wooden deckchair with broken caning and a piece of hand carved wooded archway. It is the largest surviving piece of woodwork from the Titanic. Both the deckchair and archway piece were found floating in the water near the ship.
 
For ocean liners, luxury was largely on display during meals. Lunch on the Lusitania, a British ocean liner that was torpedoed by a German submarine in 1915, might include green turtle soup. And hindquarters of lamb on fine china with shiny silver cutlery.
 
In the exhibit, there also is a 1950 photograph of the famous Hollywood actress Marlene Dietrich, wearing a Christian Dior buttoned-up skirt suit and waiting to board the liner Queen Elizabeth, operated by the Cunard Line. Dietrich was an experienced trans-Atlantic tourist; she had a favorite room with a wooden piano that is part of the exhibit.
 
Ocean Liners captures the museum-goer's imagination. It highlights a contrast between ocean travel now and yesteryear, said Richard Griffin, of Salem, Massachusetts. Griffin was viewing the exhibit with his wife Cynthia.
 
"It's transporting," he said. "It is a feeling of being rather than doing, then as opposed to now, when people would just be and luxuriate instead of doing so many things."
 
Ocean Liners: Glamor, Speed, and Style runs through Oct. 9 at the Peabody Essex Museum.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why couldn’t ocean liners go as fast as planes?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (5)
  • christopherb-kut
    6/03/2017 - 05:22 p.m.

    in the article it talks about how the titanic sank because it was going to fast and the drive didn't pay attention to a warning.

  • dallasr-kut
    6/04/2017 - 02:04 p.m.

    Because they could hold a lot more people and more stuff than planes.

  • siennac-kut
    6/04/2017 - 10:07 p.m.

    I love the story of the Titanic. The reason why ocean liners can't go as fast as planes is because the Titanic caption ran into a iceberg at the speed people were impressed so they made it slower so people didn't get hurt.

  • dominickc-kut
    6/04/2017 - 10:07 p.m.

    because planes can go on air which means that they can fly over everything, also the planes are smaller, faster , and better made for speedy travel.

  • aliviar-kut1
    6/06/2017 - 09:41 p.m.

    Its cool to read about the old ships that have been sunk in the past. To be able to go to the meuseum and being able to see all these artifacts and to learn from them is a really cool experience to others. Mostly being able to see those artifacts is really cool because when you think about it that those were on that sunken boat.

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