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The World’s Most Famous Ship Docks in Downtown Winnipeg

Published: 01/11/2011

On a calm April night in 1912, the world's largest ship, RMS Titanic, sank after colliding with an iceberg on her maiden voyage. On board were 2,228 passengers, including titans of commerce and industry, artists and movie stars and senior members of governments. There were also 13 Manitobans on board. Nine of these passengers - all men - died. Four of them - all women - survived.

Now science and technology is allowing us to visit the RMS Titanic through the internationally acclaimed tribute Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, which has been viewed by more than 22 million people worldwide. As a precursor to the 100th anniversary of the sinking, the Exhibition will make its Winnipeg debut this February 12th, 2011 at the MTS Centre Exhibition Hall. In partnership, The Manitoba Museum will launch a special exhibit Titanic: The Manitoba Connection, which will include artifacts from the Museum's collection to tell the story of the Manitoba passengers. 

"True North Sports & Entertainment is excited to bring Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition to Winnipeg," said Kevin Donnelly, Vice-President & General Manager of MTS Centre. "With the well-known history surrounding the story of the great ship, as well as the deep connections within our own province, we believe Manitobans will be just as excited to get an up-close, real-life unique look at the Titanicexperience."

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is produced by RMS Titanic, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions, Inc.) and is the only company permitted by law to recover objects from the wreck ofTitanic. The Company recently completed its most ambitious mission to the wreck this summer of 2010 where they set out to map the entire wreck site of Titanic. MTS Centre Exhibition Hall will be the first North American venue to showcase video and images from this undertaking.

The Exhibition is focuses on the legendary RMS Titanic's compelling human stories as best told through 190 authentic artifacts. Visitors are drawn back in time to 1912, as each receives a replica boarding pass of an actual passenger upon entrance. They take a chronological journey throughTitanic; from the ship's construction to life on board, the ill fated sinking, and amazing artifact rescue efforts. They will marvel at authentically re-created First and Third Class cabins; press their palms against an iceberg; and study artifacts such as a porthole, China from all three classes of service, and a chandelier. In the "Memorial Gallery" guests will take their boarding pass to the Memorial Wall and learn if their passenger and traveling companions survived or perished.

When finished at the MTS Centre Exhibition Hall, visitors are encouraged to continue on to The Manitoba Museum to learn how Titanic's sinking impacted the Manitoba region.

"Most Manitobans would be surprised to learn that the province had any connection at all to theTitanic. But 130 of the ship's passengers were bound for Canada," explains Sharon Reilly, Social History Curator for The Manitoba Museum. "Nine Manitobans died in the tragedy, while some of their family members survived."

Brothers Leonard (24), Lewis (30) and Stanley Hickman (20) were on their way to Manitoba from Fritham, England to work as farm labourers. Leonard had emigrated to Neepawa, Manitoba in 1908. Leonard persuaded the entire Hickman family to join him there, but only three of the eleven were able to secure passage. All perished in the disaster.

Leonard was a member of the Independent Order of Foresters mutual aid society in Neepawa and the lodge paid to have his body shipped from Halifax for burial. However, Lewis Hickman was wearing Leonard's coat when the Titanic sank, and his body was shipped to Manitoba by mistake and buried at Neepawa's Riverside Cemetery. Among the effects found in Leonard's coat pockets were his Forester's Membership card, a set of keys, razors, a pair of scissors, a silver watch and chain, an amber cigarette holder, and a cigarette case.

Titanic: The Manitoba Connection will also feature two woodworker's planes used by John Watson Thomson, a ship's carpenter from Glasgow, Scotland, who worked on the construction of the Titanicin 1911 - 1912. Mr. Thomson declined an offer to sail on the Titanic in 1912, and boarded a sister-ship when he moved to Winnipeg the following year instead. His carpentry tools were donated to The Manitoba Museum by his niece in 1998.

Titanic: The Manitoba Connection exhibit will run at The Manitoba Museum from February 12 until September 5, 2011.

For print, still images of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition are available upon request. For video, b-rollof Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is available upon request. For interviews, please contact Jillian Brown jibrown@travelmanitoba.com, 1-204-927-7832

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