Jo Litson, The Sunday Telegraph, reports
The sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, when it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage has never ceased to fascinate people and to generate controversy, given the shocking loss of life, particularly among third-class passengers.
To mark the centenary of the disaster, the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour has curated "an intimate memorial exhibition" called Remembering Titanic - 100 Years.
"We follow the whole history of the Titanic right through from its construction to its sinking and then what happened after that with the inquiries and the present day controversy over the salvage of the shipwreck," says curator Kieran Hosty.
The exhibition also looks at the impact of the Titanic on popular culture from books to films including James Cameron's 1997 Academy Award-winning movie Titanic starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. 20th Century Fox is releasing a 3D version of Cameron's blockbuster in cinemas on Thursday. As principal sponsor of the exhibition, Fox has lent the museum nine costumes and various props from the film.
"It's amazing the impact that the disaster and the loss of over 1500 people in the Atlantic had," says Hosty. "And I think that's due to the huge hype from the builders about the Titanic and its sister ships the Olympic and the Britannia, and in the media about these luxurious vessels, which were going to revolutionise sea travel."
Remembering Titanic - 100 Years took a year to assemble as the museum tracked down material and decided how to tell the story without repeating what had been done before.
"There have been some very big Titanic exhibitions including one in Melbourne, which had a lot of artefact material," says Hosty.
"It was offered to us but we had a number of difficulties with that exhibition. Being a national institution we look to set a standard in regards to displaying material ethically and morally. There's been some concerns about the salvaging of the Titanic and removing material from (what many see as) a grave, so we thought we won't use that material."
Instead, the exhibition looks at the human drama through the personal stories of some of those caught up in the epic tragedy, including three Australians.
"There was incredible bravery, incredible cowardice and everything in between," says Hosty.
The exhibition features replica artefacts, a two-metre model of the ship, newspapers, graphics, a memorial wall listing the names of all the known survivors and victims, and other memorabilia.
The film costumes include Winslet's yellow "strolling" dress (pictured here), which is the gown Rose wears when she discusses Jack's (DiCaprio) artwork on the ship's deck. There's also the lavender silk and chiffon "swimming" dress she is wearing when the ship goes down, Jack's signature outfit of brown corduroy trousers, off-white shirt and braces, and an outfit worn by Billy Zane as Rose's fianc aac.
The museum is staging various related events including a movie marathon on April 15 when it will screen some of the best Titanic films and documentaries, including the 1958 classic A Night To Remember.
"I have to emphasise that it's a small exhibition," says Hosty, "but it's a lovely one."
Remembering Titanic - 100 Years, Australian National Maritime Museum until November 11. Info: 9298 3777 or anmm.gov.au