Titanic artifact exhibit in Cleveland - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Titanic artifact exhibit in Cleveland; coming to Toledo

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In less than a week, "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" will open at Imagination Station in Downtown Toledo.

To give you a sneak peak, 13abc traveled to Cleveland where more than 250 artifacts recovered from the ocean floor were recently on display.

There are several traveling Titanic artifact exhibits, so there will be a few differences between the one in Cleveland and the one that will be on display in Toledo.

But 13abc's Christine Long reports you'll experience the same emotional journey back in time more than one hundred years ago when the massive ship hit an iceberg and sank, killing more than 1,500 people.    

The Cleveland exhibit starts with a dark, ominous beginning.  It's a single artifact --- the crow's nest bell --- which wasn't rung soon enough by the look-out aboard the Titanic in April of 1912.

Then you enter a room with energetic music and bright lights.

 "What do you think of my pride and joy here?" asks one actor.

The tour in Cleveland turns chronological.

Actors portraying key figures, like the luxury ocean liner's architect Thomas Andrews, greet visitors as those guests explore the exhibit carrying a boarding pass.

"It gives you the name of a passenger and a little bit about them, so you start to relate to the question, ‘What would my experience be like on the Titanic?'" says Dante Centuori, the Director of Creative Productions at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland.

The actor portraying the ship's architect asks a visitor who arrives carrying a boarding pass with the name Mrs. Kimble, "Mrs. Kimball, do you have any questions about the design of the ship?" The woman answers, "How safe is it?"  The actor says, "Well, I assure you it's the safest ship that we've built so far … nearly as perfect as human brains can make it."

 "It had the perception of being invincible," says Centuori. "It was the height of technology. It was the best of the best.  And then it was brought down by a piece of ice. It was the maiden voyage!"

"Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" was a success during its six month run at the Great Lakes Science Center showcasing preserved artifacts, such as a bottle of Champagne that survived with a cork still in it.

Visitors also saw a replica of a first class stateroom.  The cost was a mere $60,000 in today's currency.

Third class bedspreads, decanters, and many other items aboard the Titanic bore the name or logo of the ship's owner, White Star Line.

One of the most stunning recoveries from the bottom of the ocean were vials of concentrated perfume oils that salesman Adolphe Saalfeld hoped to market in America.  The holes in the display glass allow you to actually stop and smell the perfume.

The exhibit also shows an underwater picture of gratin dishes that went down in a wooden case.  The wood deteriorated but the same dishes remain intact and on display today.

A replica of the boiler room has mirrors that give an idea of just how large the ship actually was.  There were 159 furnaces on board the Titanic.  The men who worked down there that night in 1912 are hailed as the true heroes.  Knowing their fate, those men kept shoveling coal and doing their job to keep power on the ship as long as possible in an effort to help save lives.

As you near the end of the exhibit, you reach the iceberg.

 "It's actual ice. It's cold. You can touch it. You can experience in a small way what those passengers felt on that tragic night," says Centuori. "People touch the ice and realize the water was colder than the ice they're touching and you can't stand it that long. People were submerged in it."

Finally, you reach the Wall of Names where you check your boarding pass to see if your passenger survived.

"It's an experience that's timeless," says Centuori.  "All ages really relate to the Titanic. It's so powerfully presented in here with the sights, the sounds, the textures that it's hard not to have an emotional experience."

It's an experience that will soon set up shop in Downtown Toledo.

Imagination Station's Chief Scientist says this exhibit displays lots of cool science considering the pressure of the ocean floor is more than three hundred times what it is above water.

"It's a two and a half mile journey to get to the bottom of the ocean to retrieve those artifacts and then some of the conservation techniques can take up to two years to get them ready to be up here in the atmosphere above the ocean," says Carl Nelson, the Chief Scientist at Imagination Station.

"It's one of the largest blockbuster exhibits we've had," says Lori Hauser, the CEO of Imagination Station. "We're thrilled to bring it to Northwest Ohio."

"Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" opens February 15th at Imagination Station in Toledo and runs through mid-June. 

13abc is a proud sponsor of the exhibit.

Click on this link for information about tickets: https://imaginationstationtoledo.org/content/titanic/

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