Located in the heart of Titanic Quarter, a short walk from Belfast City Centre, the Titanic museum stands as a monument on the site of the former Harland and Wolff shipyard where the famous ship was built. The enormous building is 14,000 square meters, making it one of the largest urban waterfront regeneration projects in the world. Its iconic design was inspired by the ship’s bow and its beautiful reflective silver surface was inspired by the crystal waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
On offer at the museum is nine interactive galleries with real photos that are over a century old. The boarded walls provide details of Belfast’s industry at the time and stories of the people who were involved in the ship’s construction. A must-see is Sir Thomas Andrews, the Chief Designer of the ship. If visitors choose to take the guided tour, they can also hear real life stories of those involved with the Titanic: shipyard workers, investors, designers. Tour guides are more than happy to answer anything you wish to know.
Although it is the museum’s policy not to include any artifacts found at the wreckage as a sign of respect to those who lost their lives, there are many fascinating things for visitors to see; including the original drawing plans for the Titanic and the original 19th century Harland and Wolff gates that the shipyard workers would have passed through every day. It also has recreations of the shipyards (including a dark ride through the lives of the workers where you can actually feel the heat they would have felt!), the railing of the ship so visitors can look upon the sea like the passengers did, and the luxurious cabins on board. The whole experience is inclusive and personal.
The Titanic Exhibition triumphs in balancing levels of respect and curiosity. Towards the end of the tour, visitors have the opportunity to enter a dark room with a floor reflecting the darkness of the sea and Morse code along the walls. What you see here is the sinking of the ship. You hear the voices of real survivors and see the real distress calls that were sent out during the tragedy. If you listen carefully, you can hear one lone survivor say, “You can’t build a ship that’s unsinkable.”
What visitors see next is a rare sight: a theater that plays the footage of the Titanic wreckage. Below the theater lies an interactive opportunity for visitors to view the artefacts found. This is fantastic because it also includes its own Ocean Exploration Centre where you have the chance to see real exploration equipment and learn about modern ocean exploration. At certain times of the year, visitors can even join a simulated expedition dive. Ask a tour guide for details.
A truly beautiful memorial to the ‘Pride of Belfast’, the Titanic Belfast is a must see for tourists and locals alike.
Titanic Belfast is open daily all year round, excluding 24th – 26th December.