Following the Untapped Cities write up on the The Dali Exhibition – Mind of a Genius at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, we were invited for a preview of their latest exhibit – Titanic: The Artifact Exhibitionat the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. The exhibit is on display from 29 October 2011 until 29 April 2012. In particular, 14 April 2012 will be an especially memorable date to visit as it will mark the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
For many, the benchmark of their visit to the exhibition will be the Titanicmovie directed by James Cameron starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. However, the organizers of the exhibit have done their best to educate beyond the movie and show visitors a true feeling of what it would have been like on the fateful voyage.
While it took only twelve days to install this exhibit, it’s amazing the work the organizers undertook to bring the ship to life. Regarding bringing the ship to life, Untapped Cities has heard a story of a film production team that was filming the setup of the exhibit. We are told that one person went into the vault which the artifacts were transported, but he pleaded to be let out immediately because as soon as the door shut he started to see floating white lights swirling around him.
The first part of the exhibit focuses on the history and construction of Titanic. Many facts are learned in this section. For instance, few are aware that the Titanic had two sister ships: Olympic and Gigantic (which became the HMHS Britannic and served as a hospital ship during WW1). Another interesting fact was that JP Morgan was the owner of White Star Line which owned Titanic. As with all disasters, there is a conspiracy theory linking JP Morgan to the sinking of the Titanic.
Upon entering the exhibit, each visitor is given the identification of an actual guest on Titanic. Depending on whether your identity was travelling in 1st class, 2nd class or 3rd class, visitors are given an authentic experience how it was to travel onboard the ship. Visitors see a mock-up of a 1st class cabin before seeing some further replicas of the dining facilities and outdoor deck given to these privileged passengers, who apparently paid about US$100,000 per cabin, in today’s rate.
Retracing back to the movie, there is also a full mock-up of The Grand Staircase where tuxedoed-up DiCaprio waited for Winslet, and visitors can have their pictures taken there.
However, although everyone is enamoured by the luxury of 1st class, at the other end of the spectrum, visitors also see the dark and cramped quarters of the 3rd class cabin. These mock-ups of all passenger cabins give visitors some real insight to the living conditions for everyone on board the ship.
The exhibition also takes you beneath to the boiler room to see how hundreds of men worked around the clock to fuel 157 coal furnaces to heat 29 boilers to power the steamship. We learn that these men worked even as the ship was sinking in order to provide electricity to the ship because electricity was necessary to send out S.O.S signals.
The next section of the exhibit moves to the moment of the disaster. There is a sheet of ice that visitors can touch to experience the exact temperature of the iceberg, and there is also a walled name list of both survivors and those who perished. Readers will be glad to hear that my character (a 3rd class male immigrant) and my wife’s character (a 2nd class female immigrant) both survived the disaster! Towards the end of the exhibit, visitors are transplanted to the bottom of the sea to see the artifacts discovered and also learn about expeditions to the bottom of the Atlantic.
The last section of the exhibit shows visitors Singapore in 1912 (the year of the Titanic sinking) and also how the Titanic sinking impacted the Republic at the time. In our view, this section seemed a bit out of place, but did nonetheless show another era of Singapore.
After visiting the exhibit, Untapped Citiesrecommend that visitors make use of public guided tours available on Saturdays at 11:30am or Sundays at 5:30pm. Outside is also the ArtScience of Letter Writing which pays homage to reality that Titanic was a Royal Mail Ship and in fact was carrying 3,500 sacks of mail when it sunk.
In summary, for history buffs and Titanic movie fans, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is a very worthwhile exhibit to check out. The ArtScience Museum is open daily from 10am to 10pm and tickets can be purchased online or at the museum box office.