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New Titanic Artefacts revealed at National Maritime Museum Cornwall

16 February — 21 June 2009

When developing and researching an exhibition, you never can be quite sure what artefacts and stories will be revealed and available to portray within that exhibition.


When developing and researching an exhibition, you never can be quite sure what artefacts and stories will be revealed and available to portray within that exhibition.

A Museum always hopes to unearth something that has never been seen before or some incredible historical fact, but to discover seven stories with accompanying objects which have never been on public display before in association with one of history's most tragic disasters is more than most Museums could ask for.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall is hosting the national touring show, Titanic Honour and Glory, from 6 March to 21 June. The Maritime Museum's curatorial team knew they wanted to grow the exhibition to highlight Cornwall's connection with the tragedy and before the exhibition went live, appealed to all Cornish descendents of those on board or associated with the Titanic to get in touch to discuss their history.

The response was incredible and as a consequence the Falmouth-based Maritime Museum has secured numerous objects, kindly loaned by direct descendents of those on board the ill-fated White Star liner that sank on April 15 1912, which have never been on display before.

Recordings of a passenger's memories onboard Titanic, letters and postcards sent from the ship, gold pocket watches, bracelets, original photographs and newspaper cuttings and the porthole from the laundry room on board the great ship will all be on display as part of Cornwall's story when the exhibition opens on Friday 6 March.

One of the lenders, Jeannette Francis, daughter of William Richards who, with other members of his family, was on board Titanic emigrating to America, says: "Our family history has always been just that, our family history. But, hearing that National Maritime Museum Cornwall wanted to tell Cornwall's Titanic story, we thought we might pull all the family's objects together and finally tell our story.

"My father, grandmother, great uncle and great cousins were all on board Titanic and to tell their story is very special. This is a one-off. The objects loaned to the Museum mean the world to us and that's why they have never been seen publicly before, but because it's our Maritime Museum telling our county's story then we are more than happy to share our history."

The Titanic Honour and Glory exhibition tells the story of Titanic and her sister ships through ceramics, photographs, film, furniture, models and various objects that all were either on board Titanic or her sister ships. The Hollywood element hasn't been forgotten either with costumes and props belonging to Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio as well as the Heart of the Ocean necklace worn by Kate Winslet's character, Rose DeWitt Bukater.

Jonathan Griffin, Director of the Maritime Museum says: "Titanic is a story with many different levels: perhaps the greatest maritime disaster but one that has so many touching personal stories. Exploring the Cornwall aspects has highlighted just how widely the effects were felt. To have revealed little known personal accounts and exclusive never seen before objects is credit to the families of those who were affected by the disaster in having the faith to allow us to tell their story."



Titanic Honour and Glory opens on 6 March and runs until the 21 June 2009.In the development of this exhibition we knew we wanted to grow the national touring show with an element that focused on Cornwall's involvement with the Titanic. What we didn't know was that so many families from the county had direct descendants either on board as passengers, crew, engineers that had built Titanic or Captains of rescue vessels.

Click here to read a brief summary of their story and the objects they have loaned to the Museum. It's clear to see that although the Titanic might have been a national story, the impact of the disaster greatly affected many families in Cornwall.