All things Titanic have been in the news lately. From the blockbuster move Titanic returning to cinemas in conjunction with its 25th anniversary. To the ‘test’ which for once and all settled the argument on whether ‘Jack’ could have survived being on the raft with ‘Rose’. (The results of the test at the end of the article!) But do you know that Titanic Belfast also reopened its doors on Saturday 4th March, following a multi-million-pound refreshment programme?
The world-class visitor attraction now boasts four exciting new galleries within the Titanic Experience, a new artefact collection and an illuminated 7.6m long scale model of RMS Titanic which is suspended from the ceiling and fully rotates.
The refreshed experience introduces ‘The Pursuit of Dreams’ as a new theme and combines immersive new technology with an original maritime heritage collection and the authentic Titanic story to deliver an enriched and emotive experience.
Judith Owens MBE, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast said: “After years of planning, we are delighted to launch what I believe is Titanic Belfast’s most emotive visitor experience to date. Three galleries have been reimagined and we have reopened with four new themed spaces showcasing never heard before stories of the hopes and dreams of passengers, a collection of artefacts being displayed in Northern Ireland for the first time and an original music score which beautifully encapsulates the stories and emotions throughout.”
“Visitors will be able to completely immerse themselves as the iconic story of Titanic is told as never before. We are over the moon with the new galleries, and we can’t wait to welcome visitors to experience it for themselves. We are confident that the reimagined Titanic Experience will ensure Titanic Belfast remains a world-class, ‘must-see’ global visitor attraction for years to come.”
The new experience begins as visitors leave The Sinking where they will see a backlit double height wall noting the names of all the passengers onboard Titanic on that fateful night, detailing their fate, if they were lost or saved. Positioned prominently in front of those names is one of only twelve remaining Titanic life jackets in the world, the first of the new artefact collection now on display.
The four new spaces are called Never Again; Ballard’s Quest; The Ship of Dreams and The Lasting Legacy.
Demonstrated by large tumbling dominos, visitors will then explore the chain reaction of events which caused Titanic to sink and the measures put in place to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.
One of the stories visitors will hear details the missing binocular box keys which limited the vision of the lookout on the crown’s nest. The original keys for the Binocular Box on RMS Titanic are now on display, the first time they have been seen in public since 2009.
Visitors will then delve into the witness testimonies from the British and American inquiries and hear first-hand views of what happened on board Titanic on that tragic night.
Visitors will pass through the void, the period of years when the ship was missing, before following Dr Robert Ballard’s quest to fulfil his lifelong dream to discover the wreck of Titanic.
They will hear where his inspiration came from, learn about his top-secret US Navy mission that led him to search for Titanic, his challenges and solutions for covering such a large area in a short space of time and then witness the moment the team shout ‘It’s a boiler!’
The Ship of Dreams
The Ship of Dreams gallery allows visitors to go on a reflective journey of the hopes and dreams of those impacted by the famous ship. This spectacular addition to the Titanic Experience sees floor to ceiling projections of the dreams of the people who built her, those who sailed on her and those who were heading to New York to start a new life.
The entire setting is fully immersive with the projections programmed in sync with a fully lit centrepiece scale model of the ship which transforms with each dream. A bespoke music score further elevates the visitor experience in this stunning space.
As visitors descend the staircase, a stunning collection of original Titanic artefacts is on display, including the world-famous violin belonging to the ship’s hero musician, Wallace Hartley, the sheepskin coat worn by Titanic Stewardess Mabel Bennett and the black-enameled walking cane, complete with electric light installed at the head, which belonged to First Class passenger Ella White.
These artefacts are all of great historical significance and will be very powerful in helping visitors make emotional and human connections to the stories of Titanic’s passengers and crew.
The Lasting Legacy
Visitors will depart The Ship of Dreams and enter modern times to see how the significance of the Titanic story has impacted Belfast and captured the world’s imagination through film, theatre and literature. They can test their knowledge of Titanic through an interactive quiz and strike a pose to capture their Jack and Rose photo moment on the bow of the ship.
The £4.5m investment has been fully funded from the Titanic Belfast Gallery Refreshment Fund which was established when the building opened as part of the commercial operator agreement and held by the charity owner, Maritime Belfast Trust.
There’s a Titanic Experience plus SS Nomadic Visit booking link here.
To book tickets for the new Titanic Experience see here.
(P.S. What did Titanic director James Cameron say about ‘Jack’s chances of survival if he had climbed on that raft? Here’s the answer: ““Final verdict: Jack might have lived but there’s a lot of variables. In a well-lit experiment in a test pool, we can’t possibly simulate the terror, the adrenaline, all the things that would have worked against them.”)
Check out our TikTok of the Titanic Belfast experience below
Btw, have you read our piece on how Northern Ireland generated an estimated £430 million in direct spend for the Northern Ireland economy since it opened its doors?