Titanic at the MAC
The RMS Titanic has made her home port The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture through May 20, 2018. The latest feature exhibit at the MAC includes many real artifacts recovered from the ocean floor which are displayed in room re-creations designed to take you back in time to the historic event. The many personal testimonies help to tell the story of what took place that tragic night.
While you will likely take away a new understanding of the legendary Titanic and its short life, what you won't take away are pictures; the exhibit prohibits any photography, even with cell phones. The price of admission is $18 for adults, discounts for seniors, students and children. The exhibit is appropriate for all ages and well worth the investment, if not for the artifacts than for all the stories of heroism and humanity that are part of the exhibit.
The Titanic was the largest and grandest ship of its time. It took two years to build and an additional 10 months to decorate. It was 882.75 feet long which is about the length of four city blocks. When you consider the length, weight and passenger capacity, the Titanic was the size of a smaller than average cruise ship of today. A large cruise ship of today is about 30% longer at around 1,200 feet and much more massive at five times the weight.
The HMHS Britannic was the sister ship of the Titanic. It shared many features and dimensions as the Titanic to include an identical length and height. The Britannic was a hospital ship for the Royal Navy and at 48,158 tons, was larger than her sibling. The Britannic sank after an explosion on board in 1916; a little more than four years after the Titanic. The only ocean liner wreck larger than the Titanic was the Britannic.
The Titanic exhibit does a great job of illustrating the differences between first, second and third class. The third class passengers bunked in same gender cabins with other passengers they didn't know and likely didn't even speak the same language. They still traveled in better conditions than they would have on other ships of that day. The second class travelers experienced a voyage that rivaled what first class passengers experienced on other ships of the day.
In the early morning hours of April 15th 1912 the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank killing more than 1,500 of the 2,224 people on board. The exhibit has a video recreating of how it collided with the ice-berg, broke apart and sank to the bottom of the ocean. The video is just a few minutes long and on a continuous loop; well worth watching.
The artifacts are in glass cases spread out throughout the entire exhibit. Considering the time that they were sitting at the bottom of the ocean; many are in amazingly good condition. The serving dishes survived the years underwater the best, with near perfect examples of first, second and third class place settings. The lighting is kept quite dim throughout the exhibit to help preserve these priceless artifacts.
The MAC exhibit features a number of still pictures as well as some video of the wreckage sitting on the bottom of the ocean as it sits today. One of the displays that I found the most interesting was a model of the Titanic as it appears today. They have taken the various underwater digital footage as well as the original plans of the ship and created a very detailed model of the Titanic sitting on the ocean floor.
None of the passengers on the Titanic were from Spokane but the news of this tragedy shook the whole country. Concurrently the MAC also has an exhibit of Spokane Circa 1912 that illustrates what life would have been like here during the same era. The other exhibits include an exhibit on Looff Carrousel Horses, The Secret Life of an Artifact and Contemporary Northwest Art. Coming this summer will be an exhibit featuring the photographs of Edward Curtis which tell the story of life as an American Indian.
written by:Todd Hays