I have to go back to Titanic Branson for a bit. Because I want to talk about the Titanic Gift Shop phenomenon.
Of course the Branson Titanic Museum has a gift shop. Of course it does. I'm guessing that one exits through it.
But this is odd: if one cannot get to Branson, one can order Titanic gifts online from the Museum's website. There's a huge selection--books, dolls, t-shirts, and the gift I want, this Trinket Box Titanic Ship
I could also buy a huggable Titanic Plush Ship
Besides silly stuff like that, the museum also offers the ubiquitous Titanic china, lots of "Star of the Ocean"-themed jewelry (based on the ugly necklace in the 1997 movie), and coal.
Yes, I said coal.
"Actual coal from the Titanic" seems to be a big collectible. There was a lump of coal in a glass box at the History Center exhibit here in Cedar Rapids. I wondered what it was at the time.
Lest you think that Titanic gift items are just for silly Tourist Traps, I would like to point out that the Encyclopedia Titanica also has a "store."
While it does not have a Titanic Plush Ship, it does have a Titanic charm for your charm bracelet.
Mostly, it has books and models. The models range from one of those Revell build-it-yourself plastic models, the kind that has frustrated every male person I know for $8.60, to a grand $99.99 model--also build-it-yourself.
The books listed are linked through Amazon.com. And there are a TON. A book search at Amazon using the word Titanic yielded 4,056 results.
Neither Branson Titanic or Encyclopedia Titanica sold this Desktop Titanic, available at Barnes and Noble.com.
"For when you get that sinking feeling," says the ad copy. Definitely more ironic than the Trinket Box Titanic Ship. I think it's funny, but a bit too ironic for me!
But why do I want a Titanic gift anyway? I don't want a souvenir of the day I went to the museum, because I wasn't there. I can understand my desire to read or even own a Titanic book--it might share some information I want, or tell the story in a new way. But a Trinket Box Titanic Ship? It's not that pretty.
But it does remind me of the Titanic.
Maybe Gifts--models, china, Christmas ornaments--are a kind of memorial to the event, a way of reminding ourselves about the Titanic--or the thoughts or feelings we have when we think about the Titanic. Is that something we want to be reminded of? Or need to be reminded of?