Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition Sails into Metro Vancouver

The exhibit explores the human stories behind the ill-fated ship’s maiden voyage

A photo of the second-class deck on display at the Titanic Exhibition. (Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition)

A photo of the second-class deck on display at the Titanic Exhibition. (Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition)

Over a century after the sinking of the RMS Titanic, the stories of its approximate 2,228 passengers are still being told to the world. From June 23 to January of next year, they will be told by Richmond’s own Lipont Art Centre.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will transport visitors back to 1912 by displaying recovered artifacts and room recreations.

According to Toni Zhang, the executive director of the Vancouver Lipont Art Centre, it took two years to bring the Titanic exhibit to Richmond. Premier Exhibitions, an Atlanta-based company, approached the Lipont Art Centre in 2016 after successfully showing the exhibition in Victoria in 2007.

Zhang explains that, coincidentally, Premier Exhibitions approached them about showing the exhibition when The Lipont Art Centre first opened in 2016.

According to Premier Exhibitions’ website, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is a traveling show which originally started in 2001 and has been seen by millions of people in cities such as London, Cape Town, Melbourne, and Orlando. This is the first time that it will be visiting Metro Vancouver.

In total, 121 artifacts, including White Star Line china and passenger belongings, will be on display. Extensive ship room recreations of passenger cabins and corridors, the ship’s grand staircase, and a memorial wall will also be available for viewing.

To remember the lives lost in the Titanic disaster, a replica boarding pass will be given to each visitor at the beginning of their tour. On the pass is the name of a real Titanic passenger, and at the conclusion of the tour, visitors learn whether their assigned passenger survived or died during the sinking of the Titanic.

“It’s to give you the experience of a real passenger on the ship,” says Zhang.

Between 1987 and 2010, Premier Exhibitions made eight dives to the wreck of Titanic where it lies 12,500 feet down at the bottom of the North Atlantic, nearly 600 kilometers off the coast of Newfoundland. The company owns the rights to the wreck of the Titanic and has recovered 5,500 artifacts designed to educate the public and protect the ship’s legacy.

Zhang believes that the most important message for visitors to keep in mind during their tour of the exhibition is that the Titanic’s passengers were real people. They will view the story of the ship through the eyes of its passengers, including the approximately 1,500 who perished the night of the sinking.

She adds that the Lipont Art Centre wants visitors to learn about the human spirit and ability “to learn from our mistakes and how we carry on [educating] our kids.”

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