The legendary ship Titanic, slid into Belfast Lough at the world’s largest shipyard on 31 May, 1911. After three years in construction, it took barely more than a minute (62 seconds to be precise) for shipbuilders Harland and Wolff to launch the mobile monument to humanity’s ingenuity and ambition. A century later another special slipway event will mark the historic launch and a new, temporary exhibit, TITANICa: The Exhibition launches to showcase the history and lore of the Titanic.
“No ship has gripped the world’s imagination like the RMS Titanic,” said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland. “Her remarkable story begins at her birthplace in Belfast, and we highly recommend visitors to Belfast to discover the story of her creation through this exhibit.”
The exhibit he refers to, like the iconic ship herself, launches 31 May at The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum in Belfast. TITANICa: The Exhibition features more than 500 original artifacts – some of which have never been seen before.
In addition, items which can never be recovered from the Titanic herself, such as deck chairs and period clothing, have been brought from other museums and collections to provide visitors with a more complete sense of what life aboard the Titanic was like. The assemblage of fascinating objects and personal stories, especially from those involved in her construction and maiden voyage, offer a unique and intimate exploration of the Titanic and the world in which she sailed, briefly, in 1912.
An innovative trail links the exhibition in the Transport Museum to the outdoor Folk Museum where visitors share a living history exhibit of the Titanic. Discover the daily routines of individuals building and working aboard the Titanic as well as the struggle of surviving family members and the entire Belfast community after disaster struck as you walk historic streets, visit the home of a riveter who worked at the shipyard and read publications printed at the time in the Newspaper Room. Guests can get their own Titanic launch ticket and stop by the Post Office to compose their own Morse code message sent from the Titanic, as well.
Rounding out the experience, a festival of films featuring historic footage of life at the time of Titanic will be shown in the Picture House. There will also be opportunities to wear fashionable period attire or just relax and watch the kids play traditional games of the time in the park.
TITANICa: The Exhibition runs through 31 August, 2011.
Other special events marking the 100th anniversary include a special event at the slipway from which Titanic launched and a flare marking the exact moment Titanic launched in 1911. The Lord Mayor of Belfast and dignitaries of Cherbourg and Titanic societies reflecting Belfast’s rich maritime history attended the slipway event.
This program of special events lead up to the unveiling of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and new interactive visitor center in 2012.