April 15, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, after it struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage between Europe and New York City, and the deaths of 1,517 souls. The Titanic story is being remembered — we can’t say celebrated — with events and exhibits around the world, including the release of the iconic Titanic film in 3D. Here’s some of what else is happening —
Belfast, Ireland — The city that built the most famous ship on the planet is Europe’s hot new must-see destination. Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction opened in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on the site where the ship was designed, built and launched. The museum opened on March 31, 2012, the 100th anniversary of the date on which RMS Titanic was completed in 1912, and the same day her first keel plate was laid three years earlier, in 1909. The building, designed to resemble several ship prows, is the same height as the Titanic and is expected to become a top tourist attraction. More than 100,000 tickets were pre-sold even before the museum opened.
Titanic Belfast tells the ship’s fascinating story from her conception in Belfast’s Harland & Wolff Shipyard, to her tragic sinking in 1912, and her re-discovery led by ocean explorer Dr. Robert Ballard in 1985. It includes a replica of the Grand Staircase from the ship’s first-class section, an ‘immersive theatre’ diving underwater to explore the wreck, and a Titanic-themed banquet suite. Belfast will also is hosting the Titanic 100 Festival through May 31, 2012.
Philadelphia — There are three separate Titanic exhibits in Philadelphia. Titanic: The Rise of Rosenbach, at The Rosenbach Museum & Library, documents the efforts of book dealer Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach to honor the friends he lost aboard, and literary items that went down with the ship. Titanic Philadelphians, at the Independence Seaport Museum, spotlights the personal lives of the city residents directly impacted by the ship disaster, including through the accounts of more than forty Philadelphians who sailed on the Titanic during her maiden voyage. The exhibit includes one of the rare existing copies of the Titanic first-class passenger list, which was in the coat pocket of local survivor Marian Longstreth Thayer.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition returns to The Franklin Institute, with a startling collection of 212 artifacts—china, candlesticks, tie pins, silver dollars and more, all recovered from the wreck site that tell stories of drama and tragedy, humanity and heroism. The display documents the ship’s construction and launch, life onboard the doomed vessel, the tale of the sinking and dramatic rescue of some 700 people, the discovery of the buried ship 73 years after it was lost and the conservation efforts made over the past 15 years. This exhibit opens November 10, 2012, through April 7, 2013. And the morbidly curious can visit the graves of six victims of the Titanic disaster in Laurel HIll Cemetery.
Liverpool, England — The Merseyside Maritime Museum on Albert Dock showcases Liverpool’s rich history as Europe’s dominant port for migration to the United States, Australia and New Zealand – more than nine million to the USA alone between 1830 and 1930. Cunard and White Star Lines were headquartered in Liverpool, and artifacts from their ships Titanic and Lusitania are on permanent exhibit. I was there recently and was fascinated by the dishes, menus, letters and other artifacts, many of them relating to the many crew members who lived in or around Liverpool. Next door is another compelling museum, the Slavery Museum, documenting Liverpool’s role in the slave trade in the 1600s and 1700s. Click here to get a FREE 3D image of the Titanic, for iPhone only.
Denver — The “Unsinkable” Molly Brown is the most famous survivor of the greatest sea tragedy in modern times, and a central character in the film Titanic. Denver’s Molly Brown House Museum is featuring The Heroine of the Titanic exhibit, exploring Margaret Brown’s Titanic experience with accounts, artifacts and photographs from that fateful voyage, including replicas of the medal she presented to Captain Rostron and the Egyptian talisman carried in her pocket for good luck.
Mystic, Connecticut — Visitors to Mystic Aquarium are now welcomed aboard the E/V Nautilus with Dr. Robert Ballard, who led the discovery of the Titanic, in the Aquarium’s Nautilus Live Theater, that delivers his current expeditions in real time. Dr. Ballard and his team of scientists, engineers and educators have set sail for a deep-sea expedition which will take them to the Black Sea, Aegean and Mediterranean in search of undiscovered natural wonders of the undersea world and lost chapters of human history. Through two-way ship-to-shore technology, visitors the Ballard team aboard the Nautilus as they search for undiscovered natural wonders of the undersea world and lost chapters of human history.
New York City — The Titanic was headed toward the Cunard and White Star piers on the Hudson River in New York City. Those piers are adjacent to what is now the Chelsea Piers sports complex, where there is a permanent photo exhibit of the momentous headlines of that terrible night of death when the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, on April 15, 1912, after striking an iceberg on her maiden voyage. Click here to read more Titanic events and exhibits in NYC, including an auction of Titanic memorabilia.