Titanic exhibition visitors 'live or die' depending on ticket

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Updated

April 09, 2017 17:00:49

Everyone entering the Titanic exhibition in Sydney is given a ticket that correlates with a passenger. As people leave they find out if they are among the 1,500 who died on the ill-fated ship or one of the 800 survivors.

The travelling exhibition, dedicated to telling the story of the ship’s descent to the bottom of the Atlantic just two hours and 40 minutes after hitting an iceberg on April 15 in 1912, opened this weekend.

Exhibition curator Tom Zaller is one of the few people in the world to have visited the wreck.

“You have to get into this little tiny submarine that is 2 metres in diameter with two other people inside, and travel for two-and-a-half hours in complete darkness until you get to the bottom of the ocean. Then you see the wreck,” he said.

“She is still upright and is as majestic as she once was.”

Mr Zaller said interest in the ship’s history was still fuelled by James Cameron’s movie, released 20 years ago, aided what he described as “an amazing narrative”.

“They were breaking ship records when the ship hit an iceberg. Heroes turned into villains and villains turned into heroes.”

He defended the use of the disaster as an entertainment vehicle, arguing that museums are filled with exhibitions about people no longer alive.

A researcher from the National Maritime Museum, Inger Sheil, said interest in Titanic history remained intense and there were a number of travelling exhibitions around the world.

“In China, the keel has been laid for a Titanic replica … and while it is not going to sail, they have done a lot of work to reproduce the interiors,” she said.

Ms Sheil said she was not surprised that plans announced by Australian magnate Clive Palmer to build and sail an exact replica of the Titanic foundered.

“I think it was a bit ambitious. The idea of sailing a Titanic that accurate … wasn’t very feasible.”

Titanic the Exhibition recreates near replicas of some of the boat’s famous interiors, and includes a number of artefacts from the vessel or a sister ship.

They include a gold-and-blue china set given as a gift to elite Titanic travellers in first class.

“Captain Smith’s maid got it off the ship before the final sailing and took that with her,” Mr Zaller said.

Titanic the Exhibition is on at the Byron Kennedy Hall at Moore Park until June 30.

Topics:

history,

sea-transport,

disasters-and-accidents,

maritime,

sydney-2000

First posted

April 09, 2017 16:48:33



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