What is it about the Titanic disaster that still fascinates us, 111 years later?
That question is addressed at an engrossing new exhibit at the Cox Science Center & Aquarium. “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition,” on display until April 14, shows dozens of actual articles recovered from the wreck alongside a replica of the first-class quarters, and yes, even a scaled-down iceberg.
“This monumental time in maritime history has captivated students and adults alike,” the center’s chief executive, Kate Arrizza, told Palmer. “And this exhibit welcomes guests of all ages. The love and heroism that passengers experienced on the ocean liner are some of the factors that made Titanic extraordinary.”
Perhaps with younger visitors in mind, the exhibit includes a history of the great ship’s construction, as well as scientific and technical information about the event.
“It’s interesting to weave in science into this moment in time,” Arrizza said. “For instance, explaining to students how the water remained liquid despite freezing temperatures due to its salinity, and how tannins that coated artifacts, such as the leather boot, helped it stay intact miles deep in ocean waters.”
“The items from the wreckage are pure artifacts from the shipwreck. Recovered artifacts are pulled from the debris field, and out of respect for the site, artifacts are never pulled directly from the ship itself,” she said.
“Some of the artifacts on display include cracked perfume vials that still hold a scent a century later; a gilded five-socket chandelier from the men’s first-class smoking room; a preserved leather bag; chipped figurines; a delicate glass syringe; and a third-class cup still marked with the White Star Line logo. Another neat artifact is the logometer, a mechanical device that measures the distance a ship travels. It was reset at noon on April 14, 1912, and forever displays that it traveled 268 nautical miles that day.”
The Cox Science Center and Aquarium also features a 10,000-gallon fresh and saltwater aquarium, digital planetarium, outdoor science trail, and other permanent exhibits.