Titanic exhibit opens this Saturday

Posted at: 03/18/2013 10:26 PM
Updated at: 03/18/2013 10:29 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The story of the sinking of the Titanic has been told and retold, but for the first time it is within reach in a way Albuquerque has never seen before. 

April 15, 2013 marks the 101st anniversary of the infamous sinking of the Titanic.  Starting Saturday, artifacts from the ship will be on display in Albuquerque at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.  Creators of the exhibit hope the items will tell the personal stories of the 2,200 passengers aboard the ship.  The exhibit features six rooms filled with relics.

"There's only been 5,000 artifacts taken from the ocean floor and 125 of those are here in Albuquerque," New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Executive Director Charles Walter said.

Walter gave KOB Eyewitness News 4 an exclusive sneak peek of some of the items pulled from more than 12,000 feet deep in the ocean.

"The leather bags that contained these, they were treated with oils back in the day, and whatever they treated them with, it stopped micro-organisms from eating away at it," Walter explained.  "So these things in the bag, nothing could get to them."

There is also a model replica of the Titanic, complete with the exact number of life rafts surrounding the top of the deck to help put in perspective how prepared or ill-prepared they were for a disaster.

Visitors will also get to watch real footage showing the construction of the ship before it took off on its first and final voyage.

While the big-screen love affair between Jack and Rose is well-known to movie fans, Walter said, there were many amazing Titanic stories, even some from here in New Mexico.

"I met a friend here in Albuquerque, I was telling him about the exhibit he said, 'Oh, my grandmother was supposed to be on the Titanic,' and I went, 'Tell me about that,'" Walter said.  "He said, 'Yes my family emigrated from over here from Great Britain and she had a ticket aboard the Titanic and she came and had an infection in one of her eyes.'  Well, they didn't want any kind of infections aboard the ship, they were a very contained unit so they said, 'I'm sorry you can't go, and she was very upset she couldn't go."

It is the stories like that that will touch everyone who comes through the exhibit in a different way. 

Walter said the exhibit is intended to be a very personal experience.  When a guest arrives, they will be given a boarding pass for a passenger.  As they leave, there is a memorial gallery where you will find out if that person was among those few hundred who survived.

The exhibit will also have a wall of ice, you'll be able to touch it and get a feeling for how cold it was in the North Atlantic the night the ship sank.

The Titanic Artifact Exhibition runs through October. For tickets, visit www.nmnaturalhistory.org.