Marina Bay Sands in Singapore gives you a chance to re-live the ill-fated ship's journey
Ever since Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet stood at the bow of a luxury ocean liner and pretended to fly in Hollywood director James Cameron's “Titanic”, people across the world have been curious to know more about the ship that met a tragic end.
Almost everybody now knows the story of the Titanic. They know the maiden voyage of White Star Line's gigantic vessel was much talked about. The huge ship set sail from Southampton on April 10, 1912, with over 2,200 passengers on board. Halfway to New York, the ship struck an iceberg and sank, resulting in the death of more than 1,500 passengers. Yet, it continues to be an enigma.
To satiate that curiosity, the Artifact Exhibition at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, has an entire section dedicated to RMS Titanic, where visitors get to re-live the Titanic legacy. To immerse visitors in the Titanic's legendary journey, each visitor is given a replica boarding pass of an actual passenger. Visitors are taken through the chronological journey — right from the ship's construction to the ill-fated sinking and continuing efforts to recover artefacts from the bed of the North Atlantic Ocean, while showcasing the personal stories of both the crew and passengers.
Of the 275 authentic artefacts on display, 14 have never been seen before. These include the china with logo of White Star Line, sheet music, jewellery and even a perfume bag with several vials intact. Extensive recreations of the first, second and third class cabins, the Grand Staircase, boiler room and even the iceberg are on display. Visitors can experience the chill of the sea when the Titanic sank by placing their palms on an “Ice Wall” located at the Iceberg Gallery. This “Ice Wall” recreates the freezing temperatures of the night and how passengers felt when they were floating in the chilly Atlantic Ocean, clinging onto the hope that rescue would arrive, before hypothermia inevitably set in and claimed the lives of many of them, says Tom Zaller, museum director.
The ArtScience Museum has also re-created the scene along the sea bed where Titanic rested beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Walking on the large glass pathway, they can see replicas of artefacts and sand beneath their feet. There is also a replica of Titanic's rusty hull after having been submerged for several decades.
In the “Memorial Gallery”, visitors can take their boarding pass and check if their passenger survived or perished. Zaller says that the story of the Titanic is still relevant, which is why people still are curious about it. “The story of the Titanic is a perfect Greek tragedy, a perfect three-act play with hopes and dreams of the passengers and the moment of tragedy.” When it was launched, the Titanic was the “largest moving object, pinnacle of maritime success that was designed by Harland and Wolfe”.
Everybody believed that the ship was invincible. Even its Captain (Capt. Edward J Smith) had apparently said: “I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.”
“Millions of hours of research has gone in to keeping the story of Titanic alive a 100 years on. Though it is a much studied subject in the West, it is not the case in Asia. Hopefully, this exhibition will tempt the visitors to learn more about the Titanic,” Zaller adds.
(The exhibition is will be on at the Singapore 1912 gallery at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, on till April 29, 2012. It is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., including (even on public holidays).