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Historisches Museum der Pfalz Speyer
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Titanic – The Exhibition. True Objects, True Stories

21st December 2014 until 28th June 2015

Around 250 original finds from the gigantic passenger ship Titanic will be on view at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate Speyer starting from the 21st of December 2014.

Exhibitions regarding this subject have previously been held in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.  Speyer will however be the first German venue for this newly arranged exhibition that will present finds recovered from the ocean floor. Alongside these original objects and the presentation of historical facts, lavish stagings of ship compartments will invite the visitor into a journey of discovery of a bygone era.  

With the exhibition of Titanic, the Historical Museum of the Palatinate Speyer will present a unique exhibition project. The 1912 demise of the “unsinkable ship” and the death of over 1,500 people in the icy floodwaters of the North Atlantic marked a break with the past in many regards. The unquestioning belief of humankind in the almighty power of technology was sustainably shaken. And today, over 100 years later, the name of this ship is at once synonymous with real tragedy and the myth that developed around it. This exhibition will attempt to shine a light on the tension between these two aspects.

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After considerable research, it was only in 1985 that the location of the shattered wreck could be pinpointed. In the course of many expeditions carried out between 1987 and 2010, many relics of this catastrophe were salvaged from the seabed, 3,800 meters below the water surface. In these cold depths it was not only pieces of the shipwreck that were to be found, but also very private items such as shoes, clothing, glasses and crockery, and expensive jewelry.

This exhibition is not just an invitation to a fascinating journey through time; it is also an attempt to address the many questions surrounding the disaster and the resulting creation of its legend. In what manner and why was the Titanic constructed? Who were on board and where were they heading? What causal chain of unfortunate circumstances and human failure led to the tragic death of around 1,500 passengers?

The beginning of the 20th Century was characterized by a pioneering spirit and an unrelenting desire for progress. Both of these elements influenced the construction of the RMS Titanic as a postal, freight and passenger ship – what was to be the most secure seafaring vessel of its time. It is the interweaving of many personal destinies, the marked social contrasts of its passengers, the concatenation of luxury and death, as well as the myth of the ship’s “unsinkability” that would make the name Titanic the absolute epitome of catastrophe.

 

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