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All Aboard the Titanic!

Posted on: 20th November 2014 | Category: Music, theater and art

The Titanic- the true story of one of the greatest tragedies of modern times, theme of the famous film and reminder of the value of life and the fragility of the boundaries between life and death. On Saturday 15th November, a group of Surval students travelled to Geneva to attend the Titanic Artefact Exhibition. On arrival, the girls were given a boarding pass to the Titanic with the name of a real passenger who had travelled on the Titanic, their age and a little about their reasons for embarking on that fateful voyage. Immediately, this humanised the story, as the girls embarked on this journey with them. Only at the end of the exhibition would it be revealed whether this passenger had lived or died.

Moving from room to room with an audio guide, the girls travelled through the story of the Titanic, from its construction in Belfast to its tragic conclusion. Parts of the ship were recreated, bringing to life the many different stories of the spectrum of people aboard the ship. Travelling from a luxurious first class bedroom to the basic bunk-beds of steerage class highlighted for the girls the injustice of the class division which existed at this time. The grand staircase used by first class passengers was recreated and the girls imagined society’s elite sweeping down these stairs in opulent evening dress to enjoy a night of fine dining and frivolities. This was followed by the coal room – dark with dimmed red lights to imitate the flickering of the coal furnaces – prompted visitors to remember not just the wealthy passengers aboard the ship but also the less glamourous journeys of the workers who worked gruelling shifts behind the scenes.

As the journey reached the infamous collision with the iceberg, the girls entered a room where the temperature dropped significantly. There was a large block of ice which visitors were encouraged to touch whilst realising that the water that evening was even colder than this frozen block. The girls found this particularly powerful in helping them to imagine the bitter cold which engulfed the passengers that night. 

On display throughout the exhibition were many artefacts which had been recovered from the Titanic. The girls compared the different crockery used by the different classes in the dining rooms, viewed musical instruments which had survived those who had once taken pleasure in playing them, and saw items of clothing which were never again to be worn by their owners.

The girls all agreed that the experience brought poignancy to the story of the Titanic and those who had been aboard. It also served as a lesson of the value of all human life irrespective of their social standing and wealth.

“I liked the exhibition but it was very sad and sorrowful. I didn’t cry when I watched the movie and I didn’t cry at the exhibition but was able to listen about all the horrors on the Titanic. It was interesting and it was very nice to spend my time there. Now I know a lot of things about this catastrophe.” (Yaroslavna, Russia)

“I went to the Titanic exhibition with the school and it was so great. The exhibition showed us what happened at that time. They showed the room of the first class, the second class and the third class with many details. I had a good time at the Titanic exhibition.” (Jia’ai, China) 

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