Sunday, October 31

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit

I boarded the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Titanic, the finest ship of the White Star Line on April 10, 1912. With my fiancé and my brother in second class accommodations, I, Miss Dagmar Jenny Ingeborg Bryhl, am traveling from Sweden to America.
RMS Titanic

Thus began my journey at the Indiana State Museum, through the exhibit of the artifacts of the most famous maritime disaster in history.
With more than 240 pieces the journey winds through various rooms stocked with artifacts and recreated first- and third-class cabins. The 'iceberg room' gives the sensation of the freezing air the night of the sinking complete with an iceberg for touching.

Weaving through the displays and reading the well-researched stories behind the relics gives a connection to the actual people who died while doing just as we all do, living our daily lives. From a perfume salesman to the well-known Unsinkable Molly Brown to the individuals transferred to the ill-fated ship from other ships, the sense of reality is more readily felt with the biographies and personal items.
Recreated first-class cabin
 Hair combs, perfume samples, letters, wallets and eyeglasses are available for viewing with the identities of the owners alongside. The dinner menus served in all three classes, along with the china and glassware displayed side-by-side, emphasizes the differences in the social classes.

The eeriness of acquiring an actual passenger's identity upon entering the exhibit is significant in bringing home the reality of the tragedy's magnitude. Not knowing if you survive or perish until the end circumvents the 'just another set of statistics' detachment which occurs with many exhibits.

I disembarked, alive in a lifeboat; one of only 711 to survive. More than 68 percent were lost due to panic, inadequate quantity of lifeboats, general disbelief of the inevitable and freezing water temperature.
According to the British Parliamentary Papers, there were 2224 people aboard. Other reports contain varying numbers due to inaccurate records, people traveling under aliases and passengers boarding and leaving at various stops.

My fiancé, Ingvar Enander, and my brother, Kurt Bryhl did not survive.
Recreated hull of Titanic

Bottom Line: An educational opportunity exists with this exhibit, ripe for parents to encourage children to share their thoughts. An absolute must: watch Titanica, the 45-minute documentary at IMAX, attached to the museum, immediately prior to visiting the exhibit itself. Especially for children, it enhances the experience by showing how everything was rescued.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit and Titanica continue at the Indiana State Museum through January 16, 2011. For more information visit and

Photos submitted by Indiana State Museum
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

1 comment:

rickyleepotts said...

Holy cow, I had no idea there was that much detail. I have always been fascinated by the ship, all ships for that matter. As a matter of fact I just started watching a new television show and one of the main characters is actually the man who led the fleet that originally discovered the sunken ship.

So many lives lost, and the single most popular ship wreck in the history of... the history of the world. I hope to see this exhibit soon, and I can't wait to see if I live or die... just another number to some but to me an interesting twist. Great read, thanks for sharing your two cents on said exhibit!