Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition has been delighting crowds at Melbourne Museum for several months now. Last night, the team at Pesel & Carr decided to make the trip to see what all the fuss has been about.
For me the exhibition was of particular interest, given that Wallace Hartley, the leader of the band which famously played on throughout the disaster and ultimately went down with the ship, was a distant relative.
On April 15, 1912, Titanic sank, claiming 1,517 lives and thus challenging the world’s seeming blind faith in modern technology. The exhibition, which has been seen by over 22 million people worldwide, pays an impressive tribute to a legendary disaster, chronologically charting every aspect of the ill fated vessel’s existence. We are told about the White Star Line’s bright idea to build the world’s largest and grandest ship and educated on its design and construction. We see what the ship looked like from the inside and learn about the ill fated maiden voyage itself, it’s collision with an iceberg and finally its sinking. The latter part of the exhibition then recounts its re-discovery and the recovery efforts which occurred 70 years later.
As we literally ‘walk through’ the ship’s history, interspersed are more than 280 genuine artefacts retrieved from the wreckage, which now lies like a ghost ship a staggering 2.5 hour journey beneath the ocean surface. A two-tonne section of the actual hull is included for visitors to awe at and is probably one of the most impressive of the artefacts on display.
Personal stories of passengers and crew are recounted creating genuine moments of poignancy as we are told wonderful tales of heroism and the resilience of the human spirit. I was pleased to note that Wallace Hartley and his band members even got their own information panel!
Stunning 1:1 scale recreations of the ships interior are also included to great effect, including hallways and bedrooms and the undoubtable piece-de resistance … a replica of the ship’s grand staircase, made famous in the 1997 movie with Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet.
An interesting touch is that each visitor is given the boarding pass of an actual Titanic passenger upon arrival before eventually discovering whether their alter egos lived or died at the end of the exhibition. I was a second class passenger named Edgar Giles and unfortunately didn’t survive the disaster.
This exhibition provides a fascinating and illuminating look at a well known story and is definitely worth a visit.
For more information visit www.titanicmelbourne.com