Children's shoes, recovered from the Titanic.
Since the RMS Titanic was rediscovered in 1987 by Robert Ballard, the shipwreck has yielded approximately 5,500 different artifacts, ranging from fine china to shoes and personal effects. Since the original finding of the wreck itself, artifacts have been collected by repeat visits of Ballard’s exploration team and company. These findings are now grouped in various collections with different purposes and direction.
The Artifacts Exhibition
A major part of the RMS Titanic artifacts brought up from the sea are collected in an official exhibition which has toured the U.S. as well as internationally. The key piece of the exhibition is a multi-ton piece of the ship itself, providing a real-life exhibit display so people can understand just how big the Titanic really was when sitting above water. However, size isn’t the entire package. Many of the exhibits most striking artifacts are the small pieces of personal life, allowing a viewer to think for a moment who held the item or wore it before that tragic night that killed so many people in icy waters.
Auction Selling artifacts.
As of 2012, Premier Exhibitions, Inc., the company now responsible for showing the artifacts to the public worldwide are also selling portions of the collection off to private collectors via an auction sale. The artifacts for sale will transfer for approximately $189 million on a future unspecified date. That said, the Titanic artifacts are not going to end up in a closet somewhere in a personal collection. The buyers of the collection have to agree to various conditions about the care for the items, their display to the public, and their ongoing accessibility for history and education.
The purpose of the partial collection sale was two-fold. First, the various stakeholders in the original projects and exhibition of the artifacts needed to be paid back for their investments in the projects. Second, the funding will also help pay for a permanent archive and home for the retained artifacts to provide a permanent museum for the public. Additionally, the retained collection will also be licensed in the future for subsequent traveling exhibitions as well.
©InSapphoWeTrust Titanic Exhibition Store, Luxor
What is considered a major piece of maritime history will soon be broken up between a retained, public exhibit collection and a private-holder collection in terms of Titanic artifacts. Not surprisingly, the investors who supported the famous ship's rediscovery now wish to see a return on their investments. Hopefully, the transfer will still retain the ability for the public to enjoy this piece of sea-going history, to teach new generations that nature and fate still command the oceans.