Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition – now on at the V&A Waterfront

by Karisa

Last week I attended the media launch of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition which is showing at the Watershed in the V&A Waterfront until March next year.

Now the exhibition is of course all about that infamous “unsinkable ship”  which met it match when it collided with an iceberg on the evening of 14 April 1912 and then sank into the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of 15 April, causing the loss of over 1500 lives.

I have always been fascinated by this tragic event, I guess like most people really, and therefore was very excited to get a look at some real artifacts retrieved from the wreckage.

As we entered the exhibition we were each given a boarding pass with the details of a real Titanic passenger on the reverse side.  Our mission was to see whether we were one of the lucky 700 odd who made it, or whether we met an icy death that fateful evening…

I was Lucy Noël Martha, Countess of Rothes (née Dyer-Edwards) – a 1st class passenger who was travelling with her cousin & maid.  We were supposed to take on the persona of our passengers and then try track their Titanic journey as we progressed through the exhibition.

Come on Lucy… stay with me woman…

The exhibition as mentioned includes authentic artifacts recovered from the shipwreck of the Titanic, including perfume vials, porcelain dinnerware, personal belongings, postcards, and pieces of the ship.  Other cool features include an ice wall so you can get a feel for how cold it would have been on that night, also room replicas that show what the 1st and 3rd class cabins looked like, menu examples and passenger stories.

My favourite item were these stoneware dinner plates that were found completely in tact & snugly nestled in the soft sand of the ocean floor.  The wooden cabinet they were housed in had wasted away over time, but the dishes, they remained as happy as clams (and kinda looked like them as well).  Thought that was amazing…

Oh and did I (aka Countess Lucy Noël Martha) survive?  I guess being both a first class passenger & a woman, my odds were relatively good.  Lucy survived along with her cousin and maid.  They got onto lifeboat number 8 and Lucy lived up to the ripe old age of 77.  You can actually read her story over here.  She sounded like quite the gutsy lady.  My kinda woman for sure.

Other things to note:

  • For the little ones:  There’s a downloadable educational curriculum, kiddies artifact map and the Kiddies Activation Zone with a Titanic PlayStation Zone, Titanic Lego building tables, board games, sand pits and Titanic ocean tanks.
  • For the adults:  Shop at the merchandise shop and sample specially made “White Star” ranges of beer and wines:

    I added ice to my wine… because “danger” is my middle name…

Wanna check it out for yourself?  Then take note of the following:

  • Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is open daily from 09h00 to 18h00
  • Tickets are available at the expo or through Webtickets over here and range from R85 for children aged 5 to 17, up to R320 for a family of 4 package.
  • For more info you can also visit www.titanicexpo.co.za

My tip would be to opt for the audio guide – there’s quite a bit of reading and you may miss a lot of stuff if that’s not your thing.  Other than that, just take your time & take it all in.


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