I arrived at the Perth Convention Centre early on a Sunday morning with tickets in hand to attend the much hyped event, Titanic: The Exhibition.
The exhibition houses replicas, memorabilia and historical information of the ill-fated White Star liner which sank during it’s maiden voyage early last century.
There is always some trepidation when going to an exhibition associated with the tragic deaths of over 1500 people. Is it a bit ghoulish, will it be done with respect, do people actually realise that James Cameron’s “Titanic” was not a documentary? Thankfully none of my fears were realised on the day.
Titanic: The Exhibition is an amazing step back in time which enables the attendee to reflect on the details behind the oceanic tragedy while also giving an insight into the individual experiences of the ship’s crew and passenger list before and after that fateful night of April 14 1912. Guests are handed a passenger card before beginning their journey which, as explained, is a real Titanic passengers name and particulars of which you can follow throughout the tour. This individualised idea ultimately culminates in the discovery of whether ‘your’ passenger survives the sinking. The passenger card concept certainly personalises the experience and helps form an attachment which can make the final discovery of the fate of your allocated person quite moving.
Guests enter the exhibit via gangway and have their photos taken on the re-created bow of the ship before being given a virtual tour of the vessel itself. Various classes of cabins, effects, event timelines and personal stories are laid out in a chronological and easy to follow sequence from the ship’s creation, engineering, history, ultimate sinking and aftermath, including the discovery of the Titanic wreck on the ocean bed in 1985. The half way point also sees another photo opportunity upon the grand staircase of the first class liner, made famous by Cameron’s movie, which can be purchased at the end of the tour.
The atmosphere within the exhibit is, at times, just as chilling as it may have been on deck over 100 years ago, enhanced by the eerie calls of “iceberg” by one of the many costumed actors roaming the exhibit or through the four metre long chunk of ice which visitors are invited to touch. Titanic: The Exhibition pays homage to the events that unfolded all those years ago while giving a factual interpretation as to why they happened. It is a historical and cultural maritime feast in which to immerse yourself for at least a couple of hours. Ultimately though it was the personal stories involved which made the experience a must see for me, if only to acknowledge the many lives lost too soon.