Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Review

of an Exhibition

by Marcus Harshaw

Published on May 25, 2011, Modified on June 10, 2011

  • Description:

    I celebrated my 28th birthday last week and took a minor tour around the Midwest visiting 5 museums in 3 days (not including my home museum Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, or my home “emeritus” museum the Indiana State Museum of Science and Culture). My first stop was the Center of Science and Industry, better known as COSi, in Columbus, Ohio. It was my second trip to COSi, the first being a visit to Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science (That will be a later blog). I was fortunate enough to attend their Titanic Steerage Party and exhibit preview on Thursday, March 25. I was given my Titanic boarding pass, and prepared to enter the exhibit.

    Upon entry to the exhibit you are in a dark room with a few cases of artifacts. One thing that I found technically impressive about these cases was the lighting of the artifacts themselves. The artifacts are lit from small yet powerful lights inside the cases rather than relying on lights suspended on tracks from 10 feet above the cases. This provided an intimate setting and really got the visitor into the proper mentality for what they were about to see.

    Moving through the exhibit’s galleries, I recognized some of my favorite artifacts from when I saw the exhibit at Louisville Science Center this past November including a few dozen au gratin dishes in a case of sand just how they were found after the disaster. Then as you moved past the first few galleries you enjoy immersive spaces where the artifacts and the story come alive…the story that you are a part of. Each boarding pass includes a name and some information about someone who was aboard the Titanic. In Louisville I was a third class passenger, but in Columbus I had graduated to second class drastically increasing my odds of survival…but I’m not holding my breath.

    The First Class hallway and First Class room re-creations were great, combined with the Third Class hallway re-creation they all served to provide the visitor with a visual and immersive comparison between the two classes. The Veranda Cafe was terrific, the Grand Staircase was more than breathtaking, and the boiler room experience was so amazing that it made you feel a slight sense of urgency to try to avoid the inevitable. The interpretation staff playing roles of First Class passengers, and THE Captain Edward John Smith just added more value to the experience.

    My Professional Opinion -

    The exhibit is the perfect, model exhibit of how special, traveling exhibits should be. It was educational, immersive, engaging, fun, and personally moving; all the points an exhibit should have. It is easily in the top three exhibits that I have ever seen.

    I guess I should use some sort of rating system, huh? Well let’s go with tickets since stars and buckets of popcorn are already taken. If 1 ticket is a dud exhibit, and 5 tickets is the best of the best, then this exhibit easily earns 5 Tickets! Go see this exhibit! I would recommend pre-purchasing tickets. For more information on COSi or this exhibit please visit www.cosi.org and don’t forget to follow COSi on twitter at twitter.com/COSiCols

    Oh and by the way, the second class passenger boarding pass that I received? I didn’t make it…again…

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