Titanic Belfast has reopened its doors to visitors following a €5.1m (£4.5m) refurbishment.
he iconic visitor attraction has added four new galleries to the Titanic experience, with new artefacts on display including one of the ship’s few remaining lifejackets, an original deckchair bearing the distinctive White Star Line logo and the keys to its binocular box.
A 7.6m scale model of the ship is suspended from the ceiling and fully rotates. It is part of The Pursuit Of Dreams, an experience that sees music synced with light projections to tell the story of passengers on the ship.
The new experience aims to combine the attraction of existing exhibits on the Harland and Wolff shipyard, with the emotive experience of the ship’s story.
Deirdre McIntyre’s great-grandfather Rodrick Chism was the chief draftsman at shipbuilders Harland and Wolff.
She said: “I was reluctant to be involved because I was concerned that it would be made a commodity and it wouldn’t be about the people, it would be about selling fobs and pens.
“This is about telling the stories, never mind Titanic reimagined, it’s like Titanic resurrected. She’s come alive again and there’s a story to be told. It’s the story of the people of Belfast.”
“Visitors will be able to completely immerse themselves as the iconic story of Titanic is told as never before,” said Judith Owens, chief executive of Titanic Belfast.
“We have reopened with four new themed spaces showcasing never heard before stories of the hopes and dreams of passengers, a collection of artefacts being displayed and an original music score which beautifully encapsulates the stories and emotions throughout.”
The new experience begins as visitors leave The Sinking, where a backlit double height wall notes the names of all the passengers onboard Titanic on that fateful night, and whether they were lost or saved.
The new illuminated model of the RMS Titanic is 1:35 scale and fitted with 300 metres of LED lights. It is coupled with a light show and a score played by Belfast musician Maebh Martin.
The other new spaces are called Never Again; Ballard’s Quest and The Lasting Legacy.
Additional artefacts include a violin belonging to the ship’s musician, Wallace Hartley, the sheepskin coat worn by Titanic Stewardess Mabel Bennett and the black-enamelled walking cane, complete with electric light installed at the head, which belonged to First Class passenger Ella White.
Since opening in 2012, Titanic Belfast has welcomed more than seven million visitors from 145 countries, contributing £430 million (€487m) to the Northern Ireland economy, it says.
The £4.5m/€5.1m investment comes from the Titanic Belfast Gallery Refreshment Fund, which was established when the building opened and held by the charity owner, Maritime Belfast Trust.
Tickets cost £24.95/€28.95 per adult and £11/€12.50 for children. titanicbelfast.com