Arts » Visual Arts

Review: Titanic: the Artifact Exhibition



4 stars

Indiana State Museum, through Jan. 16, 2011.Elegant, amazing, ghostly, sobering, compelling — this is definitely worth a visit. Take time to absorb the "hubris" of a cast and crew that failed to heed warnings as well as the breadth of the daring recovery process, here detailed for the 100th anniversary of the sinking of a seemingly "invincible" ship. Along with tastefully displayed personal effects and the ship's artifacts brought up from two-and-one-half miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, are recreations of the interior compartments and the Titanic's general structure. The exhibit utilizes technology to "show" what happened on April 15, 1912, when the "the unsinkable" sank. Other 'retellings' in dramas, films, videos, documentaries, memoirs, scientific articles, books, etc. have engaged our attention, yet this exhibit touches in very personal ways—we are holding in our hands a facsimile of a passenger ticket. If, following that jarring impact, I am told to board a life boat with my children, leaving my husband on the ship, what would I in that split second choose to do, knowing this could be the last time I would see the person I most love in all the world? Not until the very end of the exhibit can we learn if the passenger[s] we are representing lived or died. It's a far shorter story from construction to destruction than it is to the recovery process that resulted in this traveling exhibit. My "passenger" and her children lived. I could Google her name and learn the bare details of her life following arrival at her destination in the United States. To reserve timed tickets, call 232-1637 or visit


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