Don’t Miss the Boat
The Titanic has been in town since November, and as the holiday crowds start to die down it’s a good time to visit the Titanic: Artifact Exhibition taking place in the midst of Cape Town’s luxury V&A Waterfront, at the Watershed.
Re-live the high drama of this behemoth’s historic downfall amid the mementos which have been painstakingly claimed back from the ocean’s clutches over the years and displayed here as a tribute to those who perished on that fateful day in 1912, as well as those that made it back.
While we all know the story of this gigantic liner’s demise, thanks to James Cameron’s award winning portrayal of the tragedy, the exhibition still attracts thousands of curious visitors every year.
The appeal of the exhibition is its human element – far from being cold archaeological finds, the elements on display represent the lives of real people. Personal items such as perfume bottles, gloves and even a pocket watch belonging to a South African named Solomon Brown reveal personal glimpses of those lost at sea and are a poignant reminder of the fragile nature of our own lives.
An enormous amount of research has been undertaken to include intricate details of these ill-fated passengers, particularly (for this display) of the South Africans that were on board. Adolphe Saalfeld, a perfume maker travelling to New York with samples, survived the sinking, but all 62 of his perfume bottles were later recovered from the ocean floor. Thomas Brown’s pocket watch is all that remains of this brave Cape Town hotelier who perished after placing his wife and child on board a lifeboat.
Chillingly, a letter recovered from the ship reads, “I am boarding the greatest steamship in the world, but I don’t really feel proud of it at all, right now I wish the Titanic were lying at the bottom of the ocean.” The author, 17-year-old Edgar Samuel Andrew went down with the ship.
Find out about the honeymoon couples on board, the star-crossed lovers and those who were on the run, as well as other ordinary people just going along for the ride. The Titanic exhibition provides a thorough insight into this unhappy event and those involved;, as well as a detailed account of the ship’s construction and grandiose larger than life appearance, to its tragic sinking, recovery and preservation of the remains.
If you would like a memento of your experience with the Titanic head to the merchandise shop where you can pick up historically-inspired souvenirs, or even a bottle of luxury Cape Town wine specially produced to mark the occasion of the ship’s visit to South African shores.