Upon entering the Great Lakes Science Center’s TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibition, you assume the identity of one of the passengers, as you’re handed your boarding pass complete with family info, reason for travel and other passenger facts. You’re then drawn into darkened rooms filled with festive music, but soon you’re surrounded by the muted sound of an underwater world.
Viewed at an angle, the casing around the ship model above produces an eerie reflection of the wall photo, of some of the 10,000 workers who spent 3 years building the Titanic, creating the illusion of spirits drifting over the ship.
Below, the Grand Staircase, with it’s bronze cherubs, is juxtaposed with floor titles from the ship’s Third Class section. Among other luxuries on board was a gymnasium featuring a Turkish bath with Moroccan tiles and Egyptian lace, while 2 shared bathtubs sufficed for the 700 passengers in steerage.
Despite warnings from other ships in the area of large ice fields, vital information never reached the ship’s bridge. At 11:38p.m. on April 14, 1912, an iceberg would become an equalizer between classes: First, Second and Third (steerage). The air temperature was 1 degree Celsius, the water temp was -1 degree. Visitors are encouraged to touch the ice display below, kept chilled to illustrate the night’s frigid conditions.
It would take over 2.5 hours for the ship to fully sink, but the orchestra played on…. The loss of the unsinkable ship would claim more than 1,500 lives. Among the more famous – Mining Magnet Benjamin Guggenheim and Industrialist John Astor IV.
Dinner menus hang on the wall – ranging from filet mignon to boiled potatoes, depending on your class. Serving dishes, unearthed from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, are encased in glass.
The wall photo below shows au gratin dishes lined up like dominos, preserved in the sea bed. The same dishes are now housed in a display case.
A lone leather boot, with EWP stamped on the heel…perhaps the manufacturer or owner’s initials. Other cases contain U.S. bank notes, coins and jewelry. Everything from the fine china to bathroom water fixtures was salvaged.
Heavy brass portals provided passengers with serene ocean views from their state rooms.
A towering wall of fire – a recreation of one of six boiler rooms that propelled the ship forward, consuming 5,900 tons of coal, as it journeyed towards a destination it would never reach.
Replicas of state rooms also appear throughout the exhibit.
Mannequin or actress dressed in period cloths?
At daybreak, on April 15, 1912, the CARPATHIA would come to the rescue of some 705+ survivors. The greatest losses were among those in steerage and among crew members.
For a journey into another realm, visit the Apollo exhibit in the new NASA Glenn Visitor Center. A look inside the actual 1973 Skylab 3 Apollo Command Module shows the austere living conditions of space travel.
Artifact from the Great Beyond – Moon Rock from Apollo 15 encased, not unlike the Titanic artifacts, to protect it from the earth’s atmosphere.
TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibition runs through January 5, 2014.
Visit the Great Lakes Science Center’s website for details and hours.
Stay for the IMAX film: Titanica: A journey below the Atlantic Ocean to the underwater resting place of the legendary Titanic explores the ruins of the great ship. CLICK HERE FOR SHOW TIMES.
For additional info about the recovery of the Titanic , visit RMS TITANIC.