Ulster Transport Museum opens two exhibitions commemorating Titanic's launch 100 years ago

By Nick Owen | 31 May 2011
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Annotated 20ft-long plans of Titanic showing last minute design changes to the ill-fated ship.
© Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

Exhibitions: TITANICa: The Exhibition and TITANICa: The People’s Story, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Belfast, until June 30 2011

In celebration of the Titanic’s launch 100 years ago today (May 31 2011), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum has opened two exhibitions commemorating the work of Belfast’s dockworkers and the lives of those who perished on the ill-fated liner.

An innovative trail links the 500 recovered artefacts on display in TITANICa: The Exhibition, with TITANICa: The People’s Story, which offers a chance to experience the dockyards of Belfast a century ago where the vessel was built.

Officially opening the exhibitions, Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, whose department funded them to the tune of £1 million, said the new show would provide "a welcome boost for the tourism offering in Belfast at this challenging time."

"It is important that we mark the centenary of the launch of the Titanic and all that it means for Belfast. This is one of a number of projects running from this year into 2012 and beyond which will recognise the significance of our maritime history and industrial heritage for the people of the North of Ireland."

Taking pride of place in TITANICa: The Exhibition is a magnificent 20ft-long plan (above) capturing last minute design changes to the Titanic.

a photo of a young man in a flat cap looking into a dispay case with the model of the Titanic inside it
© Photo Press Eye Ltd
Meticulously drawn and annotated, the plans offer a unique opportunity to glimpse the world in which Titanic was built, bringing alive the discussions that took place among those who designed and constructed the great ship.

Of course, the draughtsmen working at the Harland & Wolff shipyard a century ago could never have foreseen the significance of these plans.

Among other never-before-seen artefacts on show are White Star Line-embossed crockery from the ship’s first-class á la carte restaurant, ‘Royal Ivoire France’ hand mirrors, and the sub-flooring of the Grand Staircase.

The exhibition also features many seabed objects recovered fro the wreck of the Titanic beaneath the Noth Atlantic - part of a loan from US-based RMS Titanic, Inc a wholly owned subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and the Salvor in Possession of the wreck site.

Through the objects, a fascinating insight is gained to life on-board the ship, while personal stories unfold exploring its tragic loss in 1912.

a photo of a man in a flat cap and waistcoat holding a ticket with the word Titanic written on it
Costumed interpreters at TITANICa: The People’s Story© Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Stepping outdoors to the Folk Museum, TITANICa: The People’s Story aims to bring alive the optimism of the age of Titanic, recreating people’s daily routines, activities and conversations.

While strolling through the recreation of Ballycultra Town, visitors are taken to shipyard worker’s homes, the Post Office and the Picture House, a silent cinema with films of the ship on show.

The items from the lost ship are the first to have gone on display in Northern Ireland.
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