Wallace Hartley Violin
Wallace Hartley Violin

Original Titanic Artifacts to Go on Display

Titanic Belfast will re-open on Saturday, March 4th, after a month-and-a-half-long closure and when it does, visitors will be able to see an exciting array of new artifacts that are connected to the famous ship.

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a wooden chair original Titanic artifacts
One of Titanic's deck chairs salvaged from the bottom of the North Atlantic by the Mackay-Bennett ship and one of the original Titanic artifacts on display at Titanic Belfast. Photo courtesy of Titanic Belfast.

They include an original deck chair along with the world-famous violin, which belonged to the ship’s hero musician, Wallace Hartley, described as one of the “rarest and most iconic objects of the 20th century.”

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two people holding a violin original Titanic artifacts
The Wallace Hartley Violin. Photo courtesy of Titanic Belfast.

The German violin was a gift from Hartley's fiancée, Maria Robinson.

The 1880 circa instrument contains a tail plate bearing a silver hallmark Chester, 1910, and engraved with the words: “For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement, from Maria.”

The deck chair was recovered from the ocean's surface by the Mackay-Bennett, the first of four ships chartered by the White Star Line to search for bodies after the sinking.

a ship in the sea original Titanic artifacts
The cable ship Mackay Bennett, which was involved in the retrieval process after the Titanic sinking. Photo: By Unknown author – Le Site du Titanic, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11080957

This surviving one, like the others, bears the distinctive insignia of the White Star Line on the headrest, along with a brass name tag holder on the rear.

It is one of six known to have been plucked from the sea after the tragedy.

These and a number of other artifacts will form the museum's latest collection, the first time they've been on public display.

More Items from the Rare Collection

The collection also includes a Plan of First Class accommodation, which was issued exclusively to first class passengers to help them navigate the luxury liner.

a bed with table and chairs original Titanic artifacts
The Plan of First Class Accommodation document would have included information on first-class bedrooms like this one known as the B-59 Stateroom decorated in the Old Dutch Style and including a bed, built-in wardrobe and comfortable seating area. Photo: By Robert Welch – http://www.nidex.com/uftm/titanic/archive.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2895618

The pamphlet belonged to Ellen Bird, the personal maid to Ida Straus, whose husband, Isidor, owned Macy’s department store in New York.

A photograph of Isidor and Ida Strauss. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Miss Bird's cabin, C-97, was marked with a cross and was located directly opposite the Straus's lavish stateroom numbered C-55-57, which had its own bedroom and separate sitting room.

Ida and Isidor Straus died side-by-side after Mrs. Straus refused a place on a lifeboat.

She gave Ellen her fur coat and insisted that she get on a lifeboat instead. Ellen survived the sinking and kept the plan until she died.

Other original Titanic artifacts on display for the first time include items belonging to third-class passenger Malcolm Joakim Johnson, including his personal pocket watch which survived the sinking and was recovered from his body.

a pocket watch original Titanic artifacts
An Omega pocket watch circa 1900, not the one that belonged to Malcolm Joakim Johnson, which was recovered from his body.

The hands of the corroded Omega watch are frozen in time at 1.37 a.m., the exact moment he was immersed into the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

Johnson, the owner of a successful construction business in Minneapolis, had traveled to Sweden to buy his childhood home but failed.

He was scheduled to travel back to the U.S. on the White Star liner Adriatic, but was transferred to Titanic at the last minute due to the coal strike of April 1912.

He died in the sinking and his body was recovered by the Mackey-Bennett and taken to Halifax.

A typical manifest ticket that would have been issued for passengers boarding The Titanic. This is not the one included in the new Titanic Belfast display. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A photograph of him and his manifest ticket, which is stamped 10th April 1912 (the one originally assigned to the Adriatic) is also included in this fascinating new collection.

A document of great importance, historians say it was one of the first things that Johnson retrieved from his cabin together with his luggage ticket.

On the reverse are instructions in several languages describing how the ticket should be displayed upon landing at Ellis Island, New York.

The Titanic Glass Plate features one of five rare photographs of Titanic's launch in Belfast on May 31, 1911. Photo courtesy of Titanic Belfast.

A set of five rare original glass plate photographs of Titanic’s launch in Belfast on May 31, 1911, will also be on display.

Judith Owens MBE, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast said: “We are honored to have been entrusted to display these extremely rare artifacts connected to RMS Titanic’s story.”

They are of great historical significance and will be very powerful in helping visitors make emotional and human connections to the stories of Titanic’s passengers and crew as part of the reimagined Titanic Experience.”

Other Original Titanic Artifacts on Display


An original Titanic artifact called the Fosbery life jacket is also on display. It came from an unknown Titanic victim.

The lifejacket was previously on display at Titanic Belfast. Photo courtesy of Titanic Belfast.

Only 12 lifejackets remain in the world, out of a total of over 3,500 that were onboard the ship.

Binocular Box Key

Keys from the binocular box key belonged to Second Officer David Blair who was reassigned just before Titanic’s maiden voyage.

Investigators determined that binoculars could have prevented the Titanic from colliding with the iceberg. Above is a scanned copy of the photographic print of the iceberg with which the  Titanic supposedly collided on April 14, 1912. Photo: Public Domain.

Due to his hasty departure, he inadvertently kept the keys in his pocket, one of which belonged to the binocular box. Lookout Fred Fleet, who survived, told the official inquiry that if they had binoculars, they would have seen the iceberg sooner.

When asked how much sooner, Fleet replied: “Enough to get out of the way.”

A portrait of the Rev. John Harper, who wrote his last letter on the Titanic, which was mailed from Cobh, Ireland. Photo: By http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/revd-john-harper-portrait.html, Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36052218

Other items from this fascinating new collection include a letter to Wallace Hartley from his parents as well as a letter from a friend; a sheepskin coat belonging to Mabel Bennett, a stewardess on the Titanic; a walking cane belonging to Ella White, a wealthy and eccentric widow; a silver hip flask belonging to Helen Churchill-Candee, a 53-year-old author, and a letter written by the Reverend John Harper, a Scottish Baptist pastor.

The Titanic story is being enhanced this year with the introduction of  ‘The Pursuit of Dreams,” a new theme that combines immersive new technology along with the museum's original maritime heritage collection.

Titanic Experience Reimagined from TitanicBelfast (by BeingOnline) on Vimeo.

To book tickets for the new Titanic Experience, visit titanicbelfast.com.

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