Rediscovering the Titanic a century later


On the evening of Sept. 23 The Museum, located on King Street in Kitchener, opened its new exhibit “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition”.

As most are probably aware, perhaps in part because of James Cameron’s epic 1997 film Titanic, the RMS Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world.

It launched April 10, 1912 from Southampton, England.

Though it was thought by many to be “unsinkable” as a result of its innovative design, the ship and hundreds of its passengers tragically perished in the middle of the North Atlantic four days after its launch when it colided with an iceberg.

Now, 98 years later, over 150 artifacts from the tragic wreck are displayed for the public in a compelling, educational and often heart-wrenching way.

Indeed, The Museum CEO David Marskell calls it a “very personal exhibit”, offering not only artifacts, but several heartbreaking stories regarding different passengers, ranging from first class to the ship’s crew.

One of Marskell’s favourite things about the exhibit is the Boarding Pass museum-goers receive, each bearing a different name of a real passenger aboard the ship.

Visitors then follow along on that person’s journey and ultimately find out if they survive or perish after the collision.

Pieces from the shipwreck on display range from things as small and personal as a man’s cufflink, to functional pieces integral to the ship’s performance such as a porthole, ship rivets and a huge wrench.

Also on display among the vast range of objects is an abundance of crockery and cooking pots.

Of these artifacts, many were still very well preserved, though enough are in disrepair for one to get the overwhelming impression of how much deterioration the objects were subjected to from thousands of feet under the ocean.

Other artifacts include those belonging to a perfumist, an amateur musician, Macy’s owner Ida Straus and many others.

Displays include replicas of first and third class sleeping quarters.
As the night came to a close, it was clear that the inaugural crowd was genuinely impressed.

The exclusive evening was topped off with authentic (and delicious) Cornish pasties, an Irish band and even Irish dancers, all reminiscent of the Titanic’s third class culture and atmosphere.

Enthusiastic guests were not only in attendance for the opening of a fantastic exhibit, but also celebrated the brand new name of the institute, The Museum, formerly named The Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum.

In this respect, The Museum under CEO David Marskell hopes to inspire and teach all demographics in the community including children, adults and university students.

In Marskell’s terms, he hopes that The Museum will serve as “a piece of the cultural puzzle” in our growing community.

The Museum’s tagline is “Ideas transcending objects,” a motto which is upheld by their splendid new exhibit surrounding one of the most compelling tragedies of the past century.

Though many guests of the opening night were adults, the exhibition should be a success with patrons of all ages.

The Titanic exhibit runs until Jan. 23 of next year.

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