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Historic Artifacts from "Titanic" And Props From "Titanic" The Movie Go On Display In Ventura County

This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the biggest movie blockbusters of all time, and the 105th anniversary of the real life tragedy which inspired it.

Now, both the movie “Titanic,” and the history behind it are being commemorated in a new exhibition in Ventura County. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley is hosting “Titanic At The Reagan Library,” a 10,000 square foot special exhibition opening this holiday weekend.

Part of its features costumes, props, and even a set from the 1997 James Cameron movie starring Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Melissa Giller, with the Reagan Library, says this Titanic exhibition is unlike any other staged before, because of the artifacts it includes from the disaster which took more than 1500 lives. They are items which came from survivors of the wreck, and from the bodies of those who died.

Giller says one example is sheet music from one of the musicians who played to try to keep passengers, and crew members calm as the ship was sinking. Other artifacts include a deck chair from the ill-fated ocean liner, and the only known complete set of boarding documents, and tickets.

There’s also a huge part of “Titanic’s” history here, not from the ship itself, but from the discovery of its wreckage: It’s the “Alvin,” the giant metal submersible sphere actually used by underwater explorer Bob Ballard, who found the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985.  Francis Elder is an engineer with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which owns and operated “Alvin.” Elder says the more than forty year old, three person submersible which is now retired was involved in a number of important scientific missions, but the discovery of Titanic is its claim to fame.

Giller says the hope is people will both enjoy, and learn something from the unique mix of history and Hollywood. “Titanic at the Reagan Library" runs May 27th through January 7th.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.