“The RMS Titanic was lost at 2:20am on April 15, 1912 and discovered on September 15, 1985. For 73 years she lay lost and alone over 2 miles beneath the surface of the North Atlantic in freezing waters where the pressure exceeds 6,000 pounds per square inch”.
I was at my first year in Uni in 1997 when the movie Titanic was released. I recall watching it three times, twice with different girlfriends and once alone. And three times I cried a river. Then during a semestral break (a 2-3 week break before the start of a second semester for students in Colleges and Universities in the Philippines), I watched it again at home on Star Movies Channel with my younger sibling, Rupert. My best friend in uni once said that even if I watch it a hundred times, it wouldn’t change the ending of the movie so she tells me to stop already. Even before its huge success, I’d already read about Titanic’s disaster and was already fascinated by it. Although I couldn’t figure out then whether it was Jack’s and Rose’s tragic separation or it being a blockbuster movie that drew me to it. In fact, Titanic is considerably one of the biggest blockbuster movies of all time.
Now fifteen years after watching that unforgettable movie, ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is hosting an exhibit, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. Without having any second thoughts, I dragged my husband this morning to go to the museum.
Some of the interesting artifacts on exhibit are the au gratin dishes that were recovered from the sand where they were found lined up like dominoes. A wooden cabinet had protected them during the sinking. Over time, the cabinet’s wood rotted away, leaving the plates stacked neatly together in the sand, according to the caption on the showcase.
The museum created a brilliant replica of the ship’s interior design. For a moment, I felt as if I was Rose walking down the beautiful Grand Staircase. They even made the “deck of the ship” very dark with twinkling distant stars and a reflection of a moving seawater in the backdrop so that it would look as if you’re really on a nighttime voyage.
I had goose bumps all over during the entire visit to the museum. There was even a point when I became teary-eyed upon seeing the list of all the passengers who both survived and those who didn’t on one of the exhibit walls.
There were portraits on the other gallery of some of the prominent first-class passengers each carrying a different story as to why they were aboard the Titanic.
A passenger named Edgar Samuel Andrew was on board Titanic to attend his brother’s wedding in the USA. He was supposed to board the Oceanic, which was also operated by White Star Line but due to a coal strike he was forced to change his ticket and instead, go aboard the Titanic. These were his words on a letter to his friend Josey Cowan.
The story of the Titanic is indeed a sad and tragic one.