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The Luck of the Irish and Lifeboat #13: Sylvia Caldwell's Personal Story of Titanic Survival

Science, Education, Travel Editors.
Contact: Emelia.Cowans@naturalsciences.org; 919.707.9837

Titanic descendant, Raleigh native and author, Julie Hedgepeth Williams returns to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences   

RALEIGH — The RMS Titanic was constructed in Queen's Island, now known as the Titanic Quarter, in Belfast Harbour, Ireland. For that reason, the Irish, especially those in Northern Ireland, have a special connection to the “Ship of Dreams.” On St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17 at 2 p.m., author Julie Hedgepeth Williams returns to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, this time in the Daily Planet Café, to recount the story of her great-uncle Albert and his wife Sylvia Caldwell’s story of survival. They survived the sinking of the Titanic together, along with their infant son. In a one-woman show titled, The Luck of the Irish and Lifeboat #13: Sylvia Caldwell’s Personal Story of Titanic Survival, Williams talks about the events of that fateful night, April 14, 1912, in Sylvia Caldwell’s own words, sparing no detail, including the irony of their escape on “lucky” Lifeboat #13. (Albert Caldwell always said the number 13 was a lucky number for his family.) The talk is free; however, the Daily Planet Café offers a full menu and will offer several St. Patrick’s Day-themed meals the week leading up to and including St. Patrick’s Day.

It was quite rare for entire families to survive the Titanic, which led Williams to write “A Rare Titanic Family,” which tells the Caldwell’s story and details the unusual circumstances that led them to be on board the ship. Her performance will be followed by Q & A, and guests can buy her book. 

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition closes Sunday, April 28. The Museum is open late on Thursdays and First Fridays until 9 p.m., giving visitors even more opportunities to take in the exhibit at a discounted price off of adult admission after 5 p.m. Friday. The exhibit will also be open until 9 p.m. the final two weekends of the exhibit. (Last entry at 8 p.m.) Tickets for Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition: $14 for Adults; $11 for Seniors (65+), Students and Military; $9 for Children (3-12); $8 for Museum Members; $11 on Thursday nights and First Friday. To purchase tickets, visit  or call the Museum Box Office at 919.707.9950.  For more information, contact Emelia Cowans at 919.707.9837 or emelia.cowans@naturalsciences.org.


RMS Titanic Inc. has a singular purpose: to faithfully and respectfully preserve the memory of Titanic and of all who sailed with her. Over the past 15 years, more than 22 million people have seen this powerful exhibition in major museums worldwide — from Chicago to Los Angeles and Paris to London. RMS Titanic Inc. is the only company permitted by law to recover objects from the wreck of the Titanic. In all activities and events related to Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, the Museum of Natural Sciences wishes to remember and honor those whose lives were lost due to the Titanic’s tragic sinking 100 years ago. 

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W. Jones St.) and its new wing, the Nature Research Center (121 W. Jones St.) in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun., noon-5 p.m. Admission is free. Visit the Museum on the Web at www.naturalsciences.org. The Museum is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla III, Secretary.

Publish Date: 
Thursday, March 7, 2013