HAP is proud to be the presenting sponsor of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at Flint’s Sloan Museum. The HAP blog team decided that the best way to do research for a post about it was to see it for ourselves. We spent about 90 minutes in the museum on a Wednesday afternoon. We missed the large weekend crowds for the popular exhibit. But still saw it firsthand with plenty of fellow museum patrons. Bottom line – we couldn’t stop talking about our “voyage” after our visit. Here are our takeaways.
We entered the museum in Flint, present day. But when we entered the exhibit, we were in Ireland, 1912. We each picked up our boarding pass from the White Star Line. No longer were we Shawn, Lori, Katie and Erika. The team became our alter-egos: passengers Isador, Madeline, Sarah and Elizabeth.
We were ready to embark!
The exhibit follows the Titanic’s timeline from start to end. We start with scenes of the huge ship being built. Then, to the inside of the ship. We’ve all heard about the rich first-class interior of the Titanic. But we learn that second-class and even third-class were well above the standard for the times. Next, there's the famous “iceberg, right ahead” moment. And then the great ship’s last hours above the icy water. It all ends with the Titanic’s final resting place on the ocean floor.
The exhibit isn’t just a bunch of artifacts. It takes you through a series of emotions. Every section makes you feel something new. The lighting was one thing that really stood out. Of course our graphic artist teammate was the one to notice. Each section is lit in a way that subconsciously ties you as the passenger with the emotion of the trip. First, there’s excitement. Then fear. Then pride from the heroic stories. And last, sorrow.
The on-board emotions are conveyed through a set of stories from the people who experienced the tragedy first-hand. One tale from a survivor gave our teammate Erika (AKA Elizabeth) chills. The survivor was asked to leave her husband on a sinking ship to get in a lifeboat. “Women and children first,” the ship’s staff yelled. She said that she wasn’t choosing to get in a lifeboat. She felt she was choosing to leave her husband to die. Each of us thought about that for a long time after coming home from the exhibit. Would I – could I – do the same? Could I save myself knowing my spouse wouldn’t make it?
As we all know, the makers of the Titanic boasted that she was “unsinkable.” And when it came down to it, a pair of forgotten binoculars (and listening to some other warnings) could have completely changed the fate of the huge ship. The lookout crews simply forgot the binoculars because they were in a rush to get on the ship. Let us just say that one more time because it hit us like a ton of bricks when we saw it. They forgot the binoculars. No one had a backup pair. And the Titanic received many telegraphic reports of icebergs from fellow ships ahead of them. But they went on through the freezing Atlantic at full steam ahead anyway. Each of us on the team remarked at how sad it was that the tragedy could have been avoided if they would have just listened to advice.
The whole thing got us thinking about health care. Specifically the warning signs. These often come in the form of symptoms, test results or doctor opinion. They’re often preventable things we can take control of in our journey to better health.
Just as the Titanic crew received warnings about potential problems, we get warning signs about our own potential health issues. Heed the warnings and take action now. Don’t wait until it’s too late to change course around barriers.
In closing, we would like thank the Sloan Museum staff for our truly special day. And, since photography is not allowed, for letting us take some great shots. We were impressed with the several friendly fellow museum visitors who told us about the no-photos policy so we wouldn’t get in trouble!
Two of us as passengers didn’t make it. But regardless of our fate after our first voyage, we all plan to get another boarding pass.
About the Exhibit
Over the past 25 years, more than 40 million people have seen this exhibition in major museums worldwide. RMS Titanic, Inc. is the only company allowed by law to recover objects from the wreck site of Titanic. They have conducted nine recovery trips to the Titanic, rescuing more than 5,500 artifacts. This is a rare opportunity for you to see these artifacts up close and personal.
The exhibit runs through May 21 and many dates will sell out quickly. So be sure to get your tickets now at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.
HAP members who show their ID card get $2 off each General Admission ticket purchased at the museum.