Things to Do

A Titanic Exhibit Opens at National Harbor Next Month

The touring exhibition, with never-before-seen artifacts, will be in the DC area until December.

Photograph courtesy of Titanic: The Exhibition.

The Titanic disaster continues to inspire fascination more than a century later. If the tale of the doomed ocean liner haunts you, “Titanic: The Exhibition” is opening October 21 at Maryland’s National Harbor, following successful runs in London and New York City.

You’ve heard the stories and seen the movie, but what may set  this exhibition apart is its narrative focus on the 2,000-plus souls aboard, from third-class passengers to Captain Edward John Smith. The self-guided tour and accompanying audio guide aim to create a connection between visitors and those aboard the 1912 voyage through more than 200 personal belongings and never-before-seen objects.

The exhibit features handwritten letters, photographs, and, notably, the diamond-and-sapphire necklace that inspired the “Heart of the Ocean” in the 1997 Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio film. Life-sized recreations of the ship’s interiors, including first- and third-class cabins and a transmission room, allow visitors to feel as though they’ve walked in passengers’ footsteps. Other highlights include a recovered life vest, a pair of children’s shoes, an original menu, and a detailed model of the ship.

The exhibition was created by the design company Musealia in partnership with Titanic expert Claes-Göran Wetterholm. The author and historian has studied the Titanic for more than 40 years and has visited the ship’s wreckage four times. Verbiage from the exhibition’s website explains his “philosophy behind the display: empathy and a sense of closeness with all those who were aboard.”

“I’m a firm believer [that] if you can identify into somebody’s history, you can also be moved by this history,” Wetterholm said in a video promoting the exhibition. “So therefore, I think it’s a very human story that comes close to many people’s hearts.”

“Titanic: The Exhibition” will be at National Harbor until December 10 and open Tuesday through Sunday. Ticket prices start at $29.50 for adults and $20.50 for children under 13. Several weekend dates have already sold out, so you’ll want to plan ahead.

Brooke Spach
Editorial Fellow