Sunday, 26 March 2017

A Walk Through The Titanic Exhibition

Titanic The Exhibition tells the most recognizable story of maritime accomplishment and disaster through dramatic room recreations and 100-year-old artefacts. 

The exhibition features over 375 artefacts directly from the pre-sinking Titanic and her nearly identical sister ship, Olympic, thus providing a rare opportunity to view the grand Titanic as she was before falling to her watery grave. Select artefacts were removed from Titanic before she sailed to New York, others were donated by descendants of passengers, and many were taken from Titanic’s sister ship Olympic and serve as exact original replicas of items now lost on the bottom of the sea. Additional props and costumes from James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster movie “Titanic” are also featured. 

After receiving a “boarding pass” containing the personal information of an actual Titanic passenger or crew member, visitors have the opportunity to have their photo taken on the bow of the Titanic, where some creative guests enjoy re-creating the classic “flying scene” from J. Cameron’s 1997 film. 

Next, a journey onboard 1912’s largest and most luxurious ship begins with an Introduction Gallery. This gallery explains the inception of the White Star Line and the major players in Titanic’s conception and creation. 

Visitors continue into the Construction Gallery where Titanic’s construction and layout are detailed through large graphic images and construction material artefacts. 

The Departure Gallery, a themed recreation of the Southampton dock from which Titanic departed, displays artefacts, images and video from the ship’s departure including cargo manifest lists and other items specific to the day of Titanic’s departure, all set on a seaside dock in the shadow of Titanic’s towering ship wall. 

From the Departure Gallery, visitors “board” the Titanic via a gangplank and find themselves immersed in a luxurious recreation of one of Titanic’s First Class Hallways. After the short journey to the end of the corridor, the exhibition’s First Class and Dining Gallery emerges. 

The First Class and Dining Gallery features many artefacts including dining china, silver, crystal and more. Items from the White Star Line’s First Class areas such as the Smoking Rooms, staterooms and Dining Rooms are also displayed amid enormous images of the ship’s interiors. A re-created First Class Stateroom is also present, complete with a mix of props and artefacts for a true representation of Titanic’s First Class accommodations. 

The next portion of the exhibition is a truly awe-inspiring full-sized recreation of Titanic’s Grand Staircase. Visitors are invited to enter the room, walk about the staircase and enjoy the view as well as several Grand Staircase artefacts. The staircase also features a second photo opportunity. 

A short walk through a recreation of a Third Class Hallway onboard Titanic provides a glimpse into a fully recreated Third Class Cabin, complete with a mix of props and authentic artefacts. Here, guests will also see the infamous locked gates that prevented so many of Titanic’s Third Class Passengers from escaping to the upper decks during the disaster. 

Exiting the Third Class Hallway, guests round a dark corner and find themselves in one of Titanic’s Boiler Rooms. Here, an enormous recreation of a ship’s boiler furnace provides an interesting insight to the world below decks where Titanic’s firemen toiled endlessly to provide the ship with the power she needed to steam across the North Atlantic. An actual piece of coal from the mine that provided Titanic’s coal is also on display, providing an authentic link to the coal-reliant era of steamship travel. 

Leaving the Boiler Room, as visitors push their way through a swinging door, they are met with a blast of icy air and find themselves “outside” on one of Titanic’s sprawling Promenade Decks. In this full recreation gallery, guests are invited to sit on a bench or lean out over the railing, smell the sea air, feel the cold wind, and see the sky filled with thousands of stars on the moonless night of 14 April, 1912. A recovered deck chair and other artefacts are displayed here as well and tell the story of Titanic’s Promenade Decks with intriguing detail. 

Following a relaxing stroll along the Promenade, visitors enter the Warnings corridor. Here, large graphic depictions of the telegraphic ice warning messages received by Titanic are displayed. The details of the moments leading up to Titanic’s impact with the iceberg are explained and an ominous feeling of impending doom is felt. A recreation of Titanic’s bell, rung by Frederick Fleet as he shouted “Iceberg! Right Ahead!” is present and leads the way to the chilling Iceberg Gallery. 

The Iceberg Gallery provides a similar view of the ice seen by Titanic’s crew on the night of 14 April, 1912. Visitors are invited to touch the ice and experience the cold felt by thousands of unfortunate souls lost in the frigid North Atlantic. This dark and somber gallery explains the series of events that occurred just after Titanic collided with the iceberg. Large artefacts including Olympic’s ship wheel and a damaged lounge window provide a view of all of the things that went down with the ship. Video depictions of the collision, breaking, and sinking of Titanic are also on display to assist in the understanding of the collision and sinking process. 

The subsequent Memorial Gallery is a quiet area for reflecting on the massive loss of life and hope caused by the Titanic disaster. Visitors are invited to find out the fate of their “boarding pass” passenger or crew member assigned at the Exhibition’s start using an overwhelming full-wall display of the name and fate of every soul onboard Titanic. Memorial artefacts and personal effects of survivors and victims are also presented alongside information detailing the legal proceedings and testimonies that followed the tragedy. 

Leaving the Memorial Gallery, visitors find themselves back in the present time and at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The Discovery Gallery is equipped with a glass floor over a sand-covered “sea floor” arranged to mimic the scene 2.5 miles below the surface at the wreck site of the Titanic. Broken china embedded in the sand, large projected scenes of the wreck, and themed lighting give guests the impression of walking alongside what remains of Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic. Images and video of the discovery of the ship as well as artefacts from the discovery dive explain how Titanic was found and the state of the ship in its final resting place. 

Finally, guests emerge from the Discovery Gallery and enter the Local Stories area. Here, items from James Cameron’s 1997 movie “Titanic” are displayed including authentic costumes and props including dresses worn by actress Kate Winslet and the famous “Heart of the Ocean” necklace also seen in the film. In addition, stories of Australia’s connection to Titanic are presented and provide guests with a personal link between Titanic and Australia.

History is alive again in the stunning, informative and heartbreaking Titanic The Exhibition, opening Saturday 8 April at The Byron Kennedy Hall, The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park

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