Titanic exhibit in Toronto 2007


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I was hoping Jason, or anyone else in Toronto could give some descriptions of the Titanic Exhibit's return to Toronto....

What does it have the was- and was not- on display at the 1999/2000 Toronto Titanic exhibit?

How is the staff? Except for Jason Tiller, who is a true Titanic buff, most of the staff at the 1999 Titanic exhibit in Toronto had zero interest in the subject. The job was just a paycheck to them, thus making the 99' Toronto Titanic Artifact Exhibition my least favorite Titanic exhibit...
I hope things have improved....

Jason, you must not have gotten my emails..How was the pre-exhibit gala?

regards


Tarn Stephanos
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Tarn,

My apologies; I did receive your e-mails, but I've just been backlogged lately.

I was invited to a preview of the exhibition last week, before it opened to the public this past Saturday. The only other people that attended were media and some notables including Stephen Low (director of Titanica, a representive from Premier Exhibitions and Lowell Lytle who you may remember from the opening night gala who played Captain Smith.

The artifact exhibition is absolutely fantastic and very well done. It's similar to the first one, but there are some things that are different about it as well which is a good thing. First off, this exhibition has 280 artifacts (40 more than the first one) and it has 11 rooms.

This exhibition is timed, so you must enter the exhibit at the time displayed on your ticket. Before you enter, you are given a replica of a boarding pass with information on a specific passenger (i.e. class, destination and occupation). Some of the artifacts that are on display that we had at the first one are the porthole, the "Amy bracelet", the folded up grey suit, one of the diamond rings, and the whistles; there are several others as well. Unfortunately, Arthur Peuchen's wallet and it's contents are not part of this exhibit. A builder's model of the ship is in the first room in a case (although it's not the one we had, as this one is a smaller scale).

Some of the artifacts that were not part of the first one are Adolphe Saalfeld's perfume vials, a Purser's tag, a lifeboat davit, floor tiles from the different classes, a gold cufflink back and a receipt that belonged to George Rosenshine. There are many other artifacts that I had not seen before. The first class corridor of B deck is included, along with a recreation of B 60. Also, a third class corridor is displayed with a recreation of a third class cabin, which we all had previously. A boiler room has also been recreated, which we did not have at the last one. The Grand Staircase is shown, but just like the first one a photograph of it is displayed on the wall.

Throughout the exhibit, there are many photographs of the ship, her passengers, her crew, their stories and the people that were involved in the construction.

In the first class area, period music is played (same music as the previous one) and as you walk into the recreated boiler room, there are sound effects that recreate what it would have sounded like in the actual boiler rooms. In the sinking and debris field room (which are actually combined in this one) are more sound effects and the same videos that we had showing repeatedly. Although, the wreck model is not there.

Towards the end of the exhibit, some of the Canadian passengers stories are on the wall (the Allison's, Harry Molson and George Rosenshine. Along with that, is some history of what it was like in Toronto in 1912. At the end, a couple of guest books for people to write their comments are provided. A gift shop is located right at the end (exactly the same as the first exhibit) which is selling some very nice items such as some books and reproduced china, and crystal. Although, I was informed by one of the gift shop employees that they had not received all the stock yet.

As I said, it's a very well done exhibition and it really tells the many stories of the passengers and crew. The Ontario Science Centre (which is where it's at) has promoted it far better than SFX ever did with the first one. A preview with some of the artifacts occurred on April 10; then last week's, along with ads for it appearing on tv, radio and in the newspaper. Plus, there is a website for it. Click here to access it.

To concide with the exhibition, Titanica in IMAX is showing. But, there are separate tickets that must be purchased to see it.

As far as staff goes, I didn't see any and I'm not sure if they will have people working there apart from the gift shop staff. But, I will be going back many more times throughout the run (it's here until January 6, 2008).

I took some pictures of some of the artifacts and how the exhibit looks like. I will post them here when I can.

With respect to the pre-exhibit event, that went very well and I will let you know more about it in a private e-mail soon.

Best regards,

Jason
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Hi Jason
The exhibit sounds very nice- It's unfortunate Peuchen's items are not there- Is the D deck portion of the 'Big Piece' at the Toronto exhibit? I'm sure it was nice to see the whistles again....If they take on paid or volunteer staff, I strongly recommend you get involved - You would be a phenomanal asset to that exhibit, given your expertise in the Canadian connections to the story.

I hope the gift shop will carry the Hustack and Ruffman books...
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Tarn,

It was thrilling for me to see the whistles again. No, that portion of the Big Piece is not there unfortunately. If they do need people, then I will be involved, but at this point it doesn't appear to be the case. Thanks for your kind words though.

Perhaps the gift shop will carry those books; I'll be going back soon, so I will check.
 
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How is the davit postioned? Are people allowed to touch it? In Boston 98' and St. Paul 99' it was positioned in such a way where people were able- and encouraged -to touch the artifact....

The Hustack and Ruffman books MUST be carried in the shop- I'd pop a suggestion to the shop manger to add those books to their inventory- Those books will sell, I gurentee it.....Is larry Gilbert still head of the exhibit retail?
 

Jason D. Tiller

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The davit is positioned in the ready to launch position, but unfortunately people are not permitted to touch it.

I agree, those books should be sold in the shop. I recall how well Alan's book sold at the first exhibit. As far as Larry Gilbert goes, I'm not sure if he is still in charge for retail.
 
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It's unfortunate Peuchen's wallet is not back in Toronto- The Toronto ticket stubs were what amazed me- they were issued in Toronto, went down with the Titanic, yet made it back to Toronto- What were the odds? I wonder where they are today?
Here is a jpeg of Peuchen's wallet & contents...


peuchen.jpg
 

Jason D. Tiller

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I wish I knew where Peuchen's wallet and items were, but your guess is as good as mine. Remember how popular they were at the exhibition? That display case was the most popular of all, because people could easily relate to him. The ticket stubs were more specifically streetcar tickets, which were issued by the Toronto Terminal Railways (TTR). At that time, we did not have a transit authority like we do today until 1921.

Thanks for posting the photo; I quite like it and thanks to you, I have a hard copy.
 
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I had the opportunity to see this exhibit when it was in Cincinnati, just before it left for Toronto. Excellent summary of it, Jason! John and I really enjoyed seeing Titanic artifacts again--it had been too long since our last exhibit, and we were looking forward to another "fix"!

A couple of questions/observations for you, Jason:

Have you noticed that the "Amy bracelet" is now missing nine stones? If you look on page 20 of Judith Geller's 2001 book, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit, which serves as a "catalog" for the RMSTI exhibits, it looks like only three (or perhaps four) stones were missing six years ago. By the time I worked the exhibit here in Cleveland in 2002, I think only four or five stones were missing. When a stone comes out of its setting, why doesn't RMSTI reset it? It should be obvious to those responsible for handling the artifacts, don't you think? How difficult is it to reset a loose stone? I was very disappointed to see the current condition of this artifact. It makes a person wonder how long it will be before there won't be any stones left at all in that piece of Titanic's history. Very troubling.

There were some signage issues in Cincy, too, but it was much, much better than it was in Cleveland five years ago (The Science Center here had a "punch list" of almost 100 things that needed to be changed when the exhibit opened! To their credit, many of those problems were addressed and changes were made). In Cincinnati one thing that stood out as questionable was the description of a very deep, round (copper?) pot or liner as a "Chinese wok". To us, it looked like a double boiler insert for making sauces like Hollandaise, which was undoubtedly made by the gallon. The sign said it was a wok and serves as an example of how the White Star Line tried to accommodate various cuisines of the many ethnic groups traveling on Titanic. I seriously doubt that! Have you seen this item in the exhibit, Jason? What do you think?

I, too, love Titanic's whistles--they are so impressive, aren't they? They've always been one of my favorite artifacts. When I worked as a volunteer in the 2002 Cleveland exhibit I would often end my day by standing in front of them to take one last, long look before heading home. I'm looking forward to standing in front of them once again sometime this fall at the Toronto Science Centre!

Denise
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Denise,

Thanks very much.

Yes, I did notice that the "Amy bracelet" is now missing those stones, as opposed to the last time I saw it which was seven years ago at the first exhibition. I don't own a copy of Judith Geller's book at the moment, but at that time as well, only three or perhaps four stones were missing; so to see it in the shape that it is in was very disappointing and troubling for me as well. It's not too difficult to reset a stone, so it should be quite obvious for RMSTI.

As far as that pot or liner goes, we do have one in the exhibit; is it the one with two handles and some very visible wear on it? It's not certain whether it is a copper or nickel pot though. Nonetheless, I agree with you that the White Star Line more than likely did not use it to accommodate the various ethnic groups on board. Plus, I have never heard of such a thing.

Yes, Titanic's whistles are very impressive. I took a picture of them last week.

I look forward to meeting you and John, and hopefully the rest of the Cleveland gang when you can make it up here! Titanic will be waiting!
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Best regards,

Jason
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John Clifford

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A quick question: were any items recovered that were related to the Forutne family or to Emma Bliss?
If so, like Peuchen's wallet, those items should be displayed, as Ms. Bliss, and two of the Fortune women, were buried in Toronto.
The decision to exclude Major Peuchen's wallet may be one the Exhibitors will regret, or they will choose to reverse it.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi John,

I don't know of any artifacts that were recovered, belonging to either the Fortune family or to Emma Bliss.

Perhaps Major Peuchen's wallet and it's contents will be displayed later on in the run.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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There is one display in the exhibition that was also at the first one here, which I meant to mention earlier; it is the iceberg which you are allowed to touch. Remember that one with all the kids standing around it and seeing how long they could keep their hands on it, Tarn? I have no doubt it will be popular with them once again.
 
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Here are some photos of the whistles, backstage at the 1999 Toronto Titanic Artifact exhibit...

Although a reproduction set of Titanic's whistles were sounded in downtown Toronto, the real whistles were exhibited at the the ceremony, curiously disassembled..

Here is a jpeg of one of the solo whistle bowl/chambers:


whistle1.jpg



Here is a glimpse *inside* the bowl, after the core and manifold were detached:


whistle2.jpg




Here is a snap of the core of one of the whistle bowls:


whistle3.jpg



Here is a pic of the manifold, that normally holds the 3 large whistle bowls...

whisle4.jpg



Here is a snap of me about to put one of the whistle bowls into its case for shipment to downtown Toronto- The gloves went missing that hour, hence my being bare handed..Normally I would wear gloves...

whistle5.jpg
 

John Clifford

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The other question: When the person receives the passenger card, does someone immediately tell them what happened, or do they have a "Lost & Saved" listing where people can see what happened to their namesakes?

I admit that I let the employees know what happened to "me" whenever I received the name of a well-known person, as I acknowledge my full interest in the story of the sinking.
 
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Hi Jason
I'm glad you like my pics from the 1999/2000 Titanic Exhibit in Toronto- here are a few more-


The icewall was always interesting- the shape of the icewall varied from one city to the next-as it often broke down and needed to be replaced. Here are a couple snaps of the icewall- One is of it by itself, another is of me giving two teachers a tour of the exhibit....




monk.jpg




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Here is a snap of the 'grand staircase' in Toronto 99'- which was in reality a picture on the wall, with the aft grand staircase cherub artifact in the center- Does the current grand staircase set at the Toronto 07' Titanic exhibit still look this way?


grandstaircase.jpg




Here is a snap of the 1st class suite set at the 99' Toronto Titanic exhibit....

bedroom.jpg



Here is a snap of the Verandah cafe set in toronto 99'

veranda.jpg




Titanic Toronto 99' could have been great- sadly SFX did a lousy job marketing it-
We were right outside the city too, here is a pic I snapped from the exhibit site, showing the distance from downtown Toronto...


skline.jpg
 
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Despite the fact SFX did a dreadful job promoting the Titanic exhibit in Toronto (1999-2000), the people who did find the exhibit were often dedicated Titanic buffs- we had some fantastic school groups that were hardcore into Titanic, often dressed in one manner of costume or another, as these 2 photos demonstrate...

kids1.jpg


kids2.jpg
 
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Those days working for SFX/The Titanic Artifact Exhibition was beyond surreal- In addition to being the ultimate dream job, SFX put it's Titanic exhibit staff up in the most amazing digs-The view in this jpeg was from the balcony of our Toronto suite-

It had to be one of the best views in Toronto....
Ah well, I miss those days....



toronto.jpg
 
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