Ever since Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet stood on the bow in that blockbuster movie, crowds have flocked to exhibits dedicated to all things Titanic. Swinging a trip to museums in Southampton, England, or Halifax, Nova Scotia, would be a stretch, but soon your heart can go on with a day visit to Peoria.
“Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” opens at the Riverfront Museum Nov. 12 and lasts until mid-March of next year. The show, which has spent 15 years traveling around the world, will fill two galleries and 8,000 square feet at the Peoria museum.
The exhibition will feature 125 to 150 artifacts recovered from the massive White Star Line ship, which sank after hitting an iceberg on April 15, 1912.
Museum staff had been interested in securing the Titanic exhibit even before Riverfront opened in 2012, according to Ann Schmitt, vice president of programs. “Many members of our staff had seen variations of this exhibition in venues around the country and knew what a huge appeal it has for visitors,” she said.
Securing it for Peoria took some time and effort, but staff members are hopeful the exhibit will draw many people, including those who would not normally come to the museum or even to Peoria. “We had more than 46,000 visitors for ‘The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ (exhibit),” Schmitt said. “We expect more visitors for the Titanic.”
Those who come will receive a replica of a boarding pass of an actual passenger as they enter the exhibit. They will then learn about the ship’s building, its launch in Southampton, life onboard as it journeyed into the North Atlantic, the iceberg disaster, the loss of more than 1,500 lives and rescue efforts to save survivors huddled in lifeboats in freezing water.
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