February 26, 2001
'TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibit'
sails into Pacific Science Center
by Deborah Stone
On the ill-fated night of Sunday, April 14, 1912, just days into its maiden voyage, the famed ocean liner Titanic hit a large iceberg, south of Newfoundland.
A few hours later, the ship sank bow first and then broke in half, claiming the lives of 1,523 passengers and crewmembers.
This legendary disaster captured the world's attention and over the years it has continued to fascinate people.
Movies, musicals and books have been penned to tell the story of one of the greatest maritime tragedies of all time and now "TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibit" has been created to allow visitors an eye-opening view of some of the remains of the once touted "unsinkable" ship.
The exhibit, which is currently on view at Pacific Science Center in Seattle, presents the history, science and drama of the Titanic utilizing full-scale scenic environments, re-creations of its famous rooms, hundreds of artifacts, a conservation lab and a memorial display.
Visitors can view the world's largest collection of Titanic artifacts recovered from 2.5 miles below the ocean's surface, including a massive 15-ton, 13-by-28 foot portion of the ship's hull and numerous personal effects such as letters, jewelry, eyeglasses and clothing.
In re-created rooms, visitors can tour an elegant first-class cabin, a third-class cabin and a full-scale replica of the luxurious grand staircase.
A large wall of ice, close to the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean on that terrible night, offers a tangible way for guests to identify with what passengers on board Titanic endured as they struggled for their lives in the frigid water.
In the conservation lab, the science behind the recovery and restoration of the artifacts is detailed with a demonstration of the techniques used to restore discovered items.
Unforgettable stories of passengers and crew who either miraculously survived or tragically perished in the disaster are told in the memorial section.
Fifty-six passengers on board the Titanic had the Pacific Northwest as their destination.
To accompany the exhibit, the IMAX film "Titanica" will show daily, featuring images of Titanic on the ocean floor, contrasted with archival photos of the ship taken in 1912 and the poignant memories of Titanic survivor Eva Hart.
Award-winning filmmaker Stephen Low shot the film during a 1991 expedition to the wreckage site.
"TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibit" helps visitors to gain appreciation and understanding of the history behind this terrible disaster, all within the context of the opulent Edwardian era.
The exhibit runs through Sept. 3 and tickets are now available at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at (206) 292-ARTS or online at www.titanicseattle.com. Tickets are sold on a timed-entry basis, due to the predicted popularity of the exhibit.