“This is made to look like the first class walkways, hallways. They even have the bars on the side, so that way, if you get a little sea sick, you can grab on to it.”
Amanda Norris is the curator for the Titanic exhibit. The Houston Museum of Natural Science had another Titanic exhibit ten years ago, but almost all of these items are making their Houston debut.
“As visitors come through, one really cool thing they can take notice of, all the touch panels next to an object have two numbers to start out with. Those first two numbers are the year that they pulled that object off the ocean floor. So, you’ll see something like, for example, the engine thermometer here says 00, so it came up in 2000.”
Some 200 or more real artifacts from the ship are on display, but there are also pictures, models and replicas.
“Hear that? That’s what it would’ve sounded like if you were a third class passenger in your room. You would’ve been able to hear the engines constantly moving. So the night of the sinking, when the engines stopped briefly, that kind of awoke them to what’s going on, because it was very, very quiet.”
Of course that was a scene from the movie Titanic. But three University of Oklahoma students, who took time from their Spring Break vacation to take in the exhibit, say seeing it on the screen isn’t the same as having items from the ship right in front of you. This is Morgan Whinery, Katelynn Dahlgran and Kara Schuberth.
Whinery: “I liked seeing the bedrooms and, like, how they were really set up, I guess.”
Dahlgran: “I liked seeing where they had the pictures of finding the artifacts in the ocean, and then they had it in the display case.”
Schuberth: “I loved it. I’ve been to the one previously, and I think that the way they redid this one was great. I loved all the personal stories. They added a lot more this time than they had last time.”
If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, then you know the incalculable number of things that could go down with a ship. Curator Norris says most of Titanic’s items are still at the bottom of the Atlantic.
“There are some people that say this is a grave site, we shouldn’t touch it; and there are some people that say we need to conserve this for future generations. So they’re kind of very careful about what they pull up, and what they can pull up and what they think might survive bringing up to the surface.”
The exhibit marks the 100 year anniversary of Titanic’s one and only voyage. It’s likely crews will continue to bring up more artifacts from the sunken ship and share them with museums for the next hundred years.