Prior to entering the exhibit, each person is assigned an identity of an actual passenger that was aboard the Titanic. The passenger name, age, city of origin, class (first, second, or third), names of any family members, traveling companions, reason for being on the Titanic and a passenger fact are listed.
When I approached the first artifact, a pair of glasses, I was immediately struck by what great condition they were in! It was truly amazing to think that these very spectacles were on the ship that sunk in 1912 and were submerged under water for at least another 73 years before they were resurrected (Titanic remains weren’t discovered until 1985).
However, it was not the artifacts alone that really impressed me. It was the presentation of the exhibit rooms themselves that made me feel like I was on the Titanic. A few rooms are set up like the first class hall corridor, quarters and lounges. In these rooms, several stories provide an in-depth look at some of the first class passengers. Reading these stories, being in these simulated rooms and looking at these possessions, I gained a real perspective of what it was like to be a first class passenger.
When I walked into the room that simulated the Titanic Grand Staircase, I felt like I was there. A gentleman dressed as one of the crew members told a true story about a third class woman struggling to get herself and her children on one of the last life boats, and I actually shuddered at one point during the account.
The room that had the greatest effect on me was the one that contains an actual iceberg. The room is chilled, and the frigid temperature matched the emotion as I read through the accounts of what happened on that fateful night.
At the end of the exhibit is a giant board where you can see if your assigned passenger survived or died. I felt a small panic as I searched for my woman’s name and was genuinely relieved when I saw that she had, in fact, survived!
I admit, before seeing the COSI exhibit, whenever I heard Titanic, all I could think of was Kate, Leo and that Celine Dion song. But now I possess a meaningful understanding of this tragic event in history.
The exhibit runs through September 6. Click here for more details and ticket info.