Belfast Telegraph

US museum labelling Titanic a failure blasted by Belfast councillor

Inside The Museum of Failure in Los Angeles
Inside The Museum of Failure in Los Angeles

By Eamon Sweeney

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast has said a museum exhibition in California labelling the Titanic as a failure is "absolutely disgusting".

The Museum of Failure in Los Angeles is dedicated to displaying 100 items which are rated in terms of innovation and design before being subjected to the museum's 'Fail-O-Meter'.

The Harland & Wolff-built luxury liner was deemed unsinkable by its designers but tragically sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

However, Councillor Sonia Copeland, who represents the Titanic District Electoral Area in east Belfast, said the inclusion of the ill-fated cruise liner in the exhibition is completely inappropriate.

"I think it's disgusting. The Titanic hit an iceberg. That wasn't a failure of the shipbuilders - it was a failure of nature, so to speak," she said.

"In fact, my husband's grandfather was a cabinet maker for the Titanic - was he a failure?

"It wasn't a failure. It's a totally different thing. It's like a tree falling on a car in a storm and hurting people. You can't blame the person who planted the tree for that."

But the curator of the Museum of Failure, clinical psychologist Dr Samuel West, is unapologetic about his choices for display.

He lists "poor rivets" as the reason why the Titanic was lost. He added: "The Titanic most certainly belongs in the museum. It was a major innovation in ship design and the safety features were revolutionary.

"And it failed horribly. While there are many theories about exactly why the Titanic sank, too much trust in the exciting safety features are part of the problem."

Despite the ship's 'failure', another attraction is enjoying success on the back of Titanic's reputation. A spokesperson for Titanic Belfast said: "The sinking of RMS Titanic was an unfortunate tragedy.

"Although its maiden voyage was not the success it was anticipated to be, Titanic Belfast is committed to celebrating the city's maritime heritage and the people who built it and other ships like it, whilst commemorating those who lost their lives during the tragic sinking."

The Titanic is not the only local object that features in the Museum of Failure.

Also included is the DeLorean car which was manufactured in Dunmurry in the 1980s for a short period before its demise.

Whilst the car now enjoys cult status because of its appearances in the hugely successful Back to the Future film franchise, Dr West labelled the vehicle as "a must" for his museum.

And Guinness, perhaps the most famous of all Irish exports, is also included in the museum - specifically Guinness Light which remained on the market for a very brief period in the late 1970s.

"Companies screw up all the time, yet very few ever admit to failing," said Dr West. "Imperfection humanises these mega-companies. Even the most successful and biggest companies risk failure when they innovate."

Belfast Telegraph


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