Family Picks

See items from doomed ship at Titanic exhibit

CorrespondentMarch 28, 2013 

"Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" runs from September 29, 2012 through April 28, 2013 at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.

COURTESY OF TITANIC: THE ARTIFACT EXHIBITION

This weekend, you may need a break from coloring and hunting eggs. If you are in the mood for something completely non-Easter-themed, you can go see the Titanic exhibit at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

The popular exhibit, which tours the nation, will be in town for only one more month. It closes on April 28.

You will see artifacts from the doomed ship, such as dishes, personal effects of passengers and the bell that was rung when the fatal iceberg was spotted. You can watch a 3-D underwater video of what the ship looks like now, resting on the bottom of the ocean. And, perhaps most exciting for little ones, you can touch a giant man-made “iceberg” to get a feel for how cold the water was when the Titanic’s passengers plunged in.

The company that runs the exhibit holds the exclusive rights to collect artifacts from the ship. It has items including passengers’ money, jewelry, shoes and documents, collected from the bottom of the sea – which give you an eerie sense of connection to the passengers who boarded the ship with no idea what lay in store.

It also has pieces of the ship itself, including bent rails of deck benches and a cracked porcelain sink from a first-class cabin.

Aside from the iceberg, the exhibit is mostly made up of artifacts in cases and informative text and photos, so it’s probably not interactive enough to hold the interest of very young children. But I took my second-grader last weekend, and it prompted some interesting discussions.

The exhibit provides a good sense of how passengers were divided into classes, and the very different accommodations. It also conveys the immensity of the ship, and the false belief at the time that such a huge and modern ship was unsinkable.

We received tickets when we entered, assigning us a passenger’s name and class. At the end, we checked the passenger list to see if we, and our families, had survived. (Luckily, we both made it.)

If you plan to go, you can reserve tickets online at naturalsciences.org or by calling 919-707-9950. Tickets are $9 for children and $14 for adults.

The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. It takes one to two hours to tour.

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