Belfast Telegraph

TItanic: Emigrant stories are centrepiece of new exhibition exploring exodus to US on famous ship

By Amanda Poole

The life stories of Titanic passengers are the focus of a new exhibition at the Ulster American Folk Park, outside Omagh.

The exhibition, which explores the stories of the Irish passengers who travelled on Titanic opened Tuesday.

Set in the context of European emigration, Titanic: Window on Emigration uncovers the stories of steerage passengers, why they left for America and what happened to many of the 40 Irish survivors.

It tells the story of Thomas Morrow, the only third-class passenger on Titanic from Northern Ireland.

The Rathfriland man, a senior figure in the Drumlough Loyal Orange Lodge, boarded the ship at Queenstown and died in the sinking.

He was a passenger on Titanic as he was going to join his brother who worked on a ranch in Canada.

Exhibition highlights include 300 original artefacts including examples of Edwardian costume like those worn by third-class passengers as well as jewellery and personal items from the era.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a recreation of a typical third-class cabin on board Titanic.

Pat O’Donnell, curator of exhibitions and collections at the Ulster American Folk Park, said: “On 11 April, 1912, 113 people boarded Titanic at Queenstown near Cork.

“They were just a small number of the 30,000 who left Ireland for North America in 1912.

“The story of the Irish on Titanic which we are telling through this new exhibition provides an insight into the many other Irish emigrants and their motivation to travel to the other side of the world.”

Tim Cooke, director of National Museums Northern Ireland, which runs the Ulster American Folk Park, explained the exhibition is both timely and appropriate in that it focuses on the human stories behind the Titanic tragedy.

He added: “It is the first time some of these stories have been brought to public attention in this way and it connects people from across the island of Ireland very directly with both passengers who perished and with survivors who went on to pursue new lives in North America.

“Visitors will find it a fascinating addition to the powerful emigration story told so effectively at the Ulster American Folk Park,” Mr Cooke said.

The Titanic: Window on Emigration exhibition will run at the Ulster American Folk Park until January 26, 2014. For further information visit www.nmni.com

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