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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Titanic Exhibition

Because i have a short attention span, i am not a fan of museums due to the large amount of text waiting to be read.

Unless, its Museum of the Strange in Taipei. Even in London, city of museums, i didn't do a single one, instead i went for unconventional experiences like eating blind.

I didn't particularly remember bawling my eyes out at Titanic, the movie, so i wasn't particularly interested in anything associated.

However, one lonely night in my hotel room in London, i chanced upon a channel where they pulled together live footage of the Costa Concordia accident. Kudos to the brave victims who stayed calm stranded on deck as the ship slowly sunk. They were the ones who used their phones and cameras to record footage with commentary. Talk about holiday videos.

I was kind of excited visiting the Art Science Museum at Marina Bay Sands. It was a sophisticated place so i dressed elegantly for a visit to the museum, The Titanic Artifact Exhibition.

Herve Leger knock-offs are a plenty in Far East Plaza, costing a fraction of the original. They are very figure hugging so either work out or suck in! I do both, but here're flat tummy secrets.

Matching my dress, i accessorize simply with just a Casio Sheen watch and pearl dangling earrings. With a pattern like that on a dress, less is more!
It's Titanic's 100th anniversary when tragedy struck in 1912. Photography is not allowed in the exhibition but nothing stops a blogger!
These are real quotes of passengers. They survived.
To be honest, i almost sped through the exhibition due to cold, hunger and fatigue. Plus there was too much to read! However, thankfully i did read the first artifact and i got hooked!

There're so much story telling behind the tragedy. Lost at 2.20am on April 15, 1912 and discovered on September 1, 1985. For 73 years, she lay deep down in freezing waters of the North Atlantic.

Expeditions started in 1987 and since then, there're endless treasures waiting to be discovered. The most recent dive to the Titanic was in 2000, each dive (by remote operated vehicles) lasts between 12-15 hours. Takes 2.5 hours to reach the wreck site and another 2.5 hours to return. The submersibles take on extra water in order to be heavy enough to dive. The submersibles also descend with their engines off to converse battery power. That's how deep the Titanic is! The sea is black.

These perfectly preserved au gratin dishes were discovered from the sand where they were found lined up like dominoes. The cabinet in which they were kept protected them from the sinking. Over time, the cabinet's wood rotted away, leaving the dishes stacked neatly together in the sand.

I suppose photography is not allowed due to the fact that these artifacts are all real objects, one and only, I'm guessing they are light sensitive as all artifacts are. I spotted thermometers in these glass cabinets. So if you are going to sneak pictures, please, do it without flash.

It's chilling when you see pieces of the ship wreck. The glass cracks, the twisted metal, goosebumps arose as i put myself in the victim's shoes.
I did lose a friend to the sea. He and his wife were on a work trip and went on board a cruise. The cruise was overloaded and it sunk. The newly weds were trapped at the lower deck and there was no way up or out. The wife couldn't swim.

When their bodies were hauled from the sea, the couple was locked in embrace. They died in each other's arms.

The exhibition was amazing, it had realistic and extensive re-creations of the First and Third class cabins, the Grand Staircase where you can dress up and take a picture for a fee, the Verandah Cafe, the Promenade Deck and Boiler Room.
In the foreground is the exact angel statue that was extracted from Titanic,
in the background is the re-creation of the Grand Staircase where the angel used to be.
Stepping into the re-created areas, it reminds me of my adventure on Royal Carribean, my first cruise.
Re-creation of Titanic's first class cabins. It felt really grand.

This is Royal Carribean.
These days, cruises no longer have the disparity of classes. The difference is only the size of the rooms (with a balcony or not/ with a small or big window) but facilities, amenities and food is the same regardless if you paid $300 or $600.

However in the Titanic, it was meant to be THE inaugural journey across the Atlantic for the who's who. 
We would look like the who's whos if we were on board the Titanic.
However, the cruise recognizes that they will not be able to cover the cost if they only cater to the rich. So they sold tickets to third class passengers who were mostly European immigrants looking for a better life in America.

A third-class ticket on Titanic to New York cost $40 ($900 today) which was a far cry from the $4,500 price of a first-class luxury suite (around $103, 000 today). A third-class cabin would likely be occupied by up to four strangers who spoke different languages.

Ain't i glad that today's cruises have no disparity of classes.
Royal Carribean's double suite.
Cabins were cramped and very plain in design. The ceilings were covered with a tangle of pipes and support beams, and the noise and vibration of the engines could always be heard and felt. Despite these conditions, many third-class passengers found their accommodations to be more than adequate. Unlike other liners, which used straw, Titanic's bunks had real mattresses. The Ship also featured open-air deck space on the Poop Deck, which many rival liners lacked. Poop deck, is that where they go to poop? It wasn't explained.

The bathrooms were also an improvement for many who had never used indoor plumbing. Titanic's two bathtubs for its 700 third-class passengers would not suffice today, but were manageable in the time of the once-a-week bath. No wonder if you can remember the opening scene of the Titanic movie, it wasn't just the rich who were excited, even the third-class passengers were over the moon.
 All first-class cabins were exceptionally large, offering fine materials and craftsmanship that rivaled that of the world's finest hotels. Abundant closet space, private baths with full bathtubs, and hot and cold running water were standard. Although Titanic's first-class passengers were granted access to all of the Ship's facilities, certain extras were not free of charge. Imagine paying $103,00 and still the gym, the sauna, the squash court all required an additional fee. Food was also not free.
Unlike the Royal Carribean where we ate and ate and ate because its all inclusive.
Activities were also inclusive on the Royal Carribean.
Except spa is payable.
The most breath-taking re-creation was the Promenade Deck. The photo i took doesn't do it justice, you've have to see it for yourself.

This deck is only accessible to first class passengers while third class was kept out. Thankfully on board the Royal Caribbean, everyone could get some sun.
Even the cutlery and toilet sink/ soap dish etc between the first, second and third class had much difference. First class used mainly crystals and porcelain while the second class used ceramic and glass. Third class's cutlery looked horrible.
Third class artifacts on the left, second class on the right.

This is first class.

The memorable scene in the movie was Jack and Rose clinging on to their dear lives in the waters. At the exhibit, you get to touch the iceberg!
On the night of April 14, 1912, the waters of the North Atlantic were below freezing, registering close to 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Because salt water freezes at a lower temperature than freshwater, the saltwater ocean was colder that night than the freshwater iceberg before us. As a result, most of those lost during Titanic's sinking did not die from drowning. They died from hypothermia- a rapid mental and physical collapse that accompanies the lowering of body temperature.

I'm quite surprised to see letters, paper notes and many personal items recovered from the wreck. I thought paper tears in water!
In total, more than 1500 lives were lost.
The Captain and crew on the Titanic were commendable.
Royal Carribean Ship Captains.
Oh, and surprisingly, Singapore had a part to play in the history of Titanic!
And as the Chinese believed, at least the deceased had a good meal before death (first-class).
A visit to the Art Science Museum is highly recommended for this exhibition. It won't be there for long now, i think it's ending soon. These rescued artifacts serves as a reminder of the legendary liner, life's fragility and the human spirit's enduring strength. I'm going to watch the movie again! The exhibition also showed me how astounding the movie paid to details.


Frances said...

You could now take the Titanic experience in your home, well for the bathtub experience at least since there are now corner tubs available for you to enjoy those tubs right at the comfort of your home.

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