I don’t know why, but I since I was a young girl have always been intrigued about the Titanic.
Perhaps it was that in the 1970’s and early 80’s it was still a mystery as to where Titanic exactly lay; some 3784m (12415 feet) below on the ocean floor after it had sunk in the wee hours of 15 April 1912.
So I am quite enthused when Titanic: The Exhibition arrives at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
But it is only after I give Lewis a brief history lesson on Titanic with the aid of Science Kids- Titanic Facts and we all watch the movie Titanic that Steve and Lewis also become intrigued to learn more about the Titanic.
So why don’t you come and join us, as our senses are stimulated on this interactive tour.
We decide to visit the Titanic Exhibition on the last day of the school holidays. Tickets have to be booked in advance and there is an allotted number of people in the exhibition at any one time.
As we arrive at the exhibition we are given our boarding cards.
The Titanic story unfolds at the beginning, where Ismay who inherited the White Star Line and ship builder Pirrie meet for dinner one night and come up with the plan to build 3 ships (Titanic, Olympic and Britannic) that will be larger and grander than any other. All 3 ships are intended to be near identical with the same fixtures and fittings right down to the crockery and linen.
We walk into the next room to the sound of hammers tapping. We see Thomas Andrews’ architectural drawings of the ship and floor to ceiling photos of the ship being built. By the time Steve and I have read all the plaques Lewis has his hands over his ears – the constant tap, tap, tap has become too much.
Finally it is time to board the ship. “Captain Edward Smith” is there to greet us before we board and it is here I realise that on the back of our boarding cards we have each been given the identity of one of the passengers who sailed on the Titanic.
- I am “Eloise Hughes Smith” returning from my honeymoon in Egypt,
- Lewis is “Samuel L Goldenberg” on his way to judge an international dog show in New York,
- Whilst Steve is “Harry Markland Molsen” a playboy who is an excellent swimmer and has survived many accidents at sea.
We board the ship and walk down the plush soft red carpet corridor leading to the staterooms.
As we enter the next room we are met by the famous “Margaret “Molly” Brown”. It feels like the welcome drinks mixer in this room. As we make our way about the room we read stories about various passengers like: the gentlemen who change into their finery as the ship sinks, Molly Brown’s heroic work to raise funds for those who had lost everything during the sinking of the ship, and a young couple from different sides of the tracks (who inspire James Cameron’s Rose and Jack) although this couple both survive, go on to marry and have children.
We see the luxurious parlour room, of which their were 4 on the ship. When the Titanic was first discovered in 1985 this room was still fully intact, however has now since collapsed. The opulence of this room is just amazing with an ornate fireplace, plush furnishings down to the decorative cups and saucers.
Lewis is quite fascinated looking at all the various silverware and serving plates – he particularly finds the silver toast holders intriguing.
Round the next corner we find the grand staircase.
Then it is as if we are making our way slowly down the into the ship. We pass the second class wash basin.
See how the 3rd class passengers slept.
Then shown the gates that were locked to keep each class of passenger separate from the other. They were not locked as depicted in the movie to stop passengers escaping, it was just that they were already locked and during the commotion to escape some were forgotten to be reopened.
Next we step “out on deck” for a breath of fresh air and to admire the twinkling stars. Each class of passenger had their own deck area.
Back inside and we are in the engine room, we can smell the coals burning that keep the engines running at full throttle.
We read the messages sent to Titanic from ships nearby advising that ice was in the area.
(I have to admit I am little bit confused on this part story of why the captain did not act.) At the beginning of the exhibition when we met Ismay it said that Ismay pocketed these warning notes and did not pass them to the captain, however now it mentions the captain ignoring some of the messages and other messages not being delivered to the captain promptly as the wireless operator chooses instead to send messages home from the first class passengers regaling tales of the wonderful time they were having on the ship.
Either way it is too late when the lookout rings the warning bell.
The temperature has turned quite cold – I am almost shivering as we feel our way across the ice. We can barely hold our hand on the ice for a few moments imagine plunging into that icy cold -2ºC water.
We watch how the ship broke up and sunk, and read tales of how some people were heroic and others shameful in their actions.
There is a story of a couple the had been married 30 years and still so madly in love, the husband puts his wife on the life boat, they kiss good buy, but she jumps back on the ship “where-ever you go I go” she said. Ismay helps a number of 3rd class passengers onto a lifeboat and just as it was being lowered he cowardly jumps on too. Another man dives 20 metres into the icy cold sea and swims to the life boats where he is hauled up to safety.
It is so sad to read how so many of the life boats rowed away not even half full, as there had been inadequate training for an evacuation; and whilst there were not enough life boats for all, another 500 souls could have been saved had they been filled.
As a result from this tragedy it is now law that all ships must have enough life boats for every person on board and a life boat drill must be carried out for each sailing.
The sinking is would wide news, and we get to find out if we survived. Lewis’s and my “Samuel and Eloise” survive, but Steve’s “Harry” is one of the 1523 who lost their lives that night.
We rock side to side as we make our way to the sandy depths of the ocean floor.
This tour has been both moving and captivating with stories and memorabilia. Steve and I both thoroughly enjoyed the 2 hours, Lewis did enjoy seeing the artefacts from Titanic or it’s sister ship Olympic, but it was a lot of reading for a young boy.
But without those narratives of the individuals on-board and our other senses being prompted Titanic: the Exhibition would not nearly have been so enthralling.
What do you think?
Were you enchanted by some of the stories?
Please tell me in the comments.
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