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Austrian woman behind world’s smallest Titanic museum – built in her toilet – would love to welcome a Belfast visitor

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Lisa Maria in her toilet. Photo by Volker Weihbold

Lisa Maria in her toilet. Photo by Volker Weihbold

The toilet and museum. Photo: Volker Weihbold

The toilet and museum. Photo: Volker Weihbold

The toilet and museum. Photo: Volker Weihbold

The toilet and museum. Photo: Volker Weihbold

Some of the items in the museum. Photo by Volker Weihbold

Some of the items in the museum. Photo by Volker Weihbold

The museum. Photo: Volker Weihbold

The museum. Photo: Volker Weihbold

Some of what is displayed. Photo: Volker Weihbold

Some of what is displayed. Photo: Volker Weihbold

Lisa Maria with Dr Robert Ballard

Lisa Maria with Dr Robert Ballard

Visiting Belfast

Visiting Belfast

Visiting Titanic Belfast

Visiting Titanic Belfast

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Lisa Maria in her toilet. Photo by Volker Weihbold

An Austrian woman who created what's believed to be the world's smallest Titanic museum in her toilet said she would love to welcome a visitor from Belfast.

Lisa Maria Atteneder-Schwödiauer opened the museum in her private home in St. Florian near Linz, Austria.

The passenger liner, which was operated by the White Star Line, sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after striking an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK, to New York City. More than 1,500 died.

The ship was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

Explaining she became “fascinated” by the tale of the liner when she was just 9-years-old, the enthusiast said her “heart is in Ireland” after she spent time studying in Cork 20-years-ago and visiting Belfast on numerous occasions.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph she said she was inspired to create the private museum in the unusual room of her house after realising she had nowhere else to store the many items of memorabilia she had accumulated over the years.

“When I came back, I got more and more things I brought back from Ireland and I wanted to put them somewhere in my apartment where I could view them, but the apartment at the time was quite little,” she explained.

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The toilet and museum. Photo: Volker Weihbold

The toilet and museum. Photo: Volker Weihbold

The toilet and museum. Photo: Volker Weihbold

“I had this tiny toilet with white tiles and it was boring. I started putting pictures on the door and the walls and I went to an exhibition in London and put the tickets from that exhibition on the wall.

“When my friends came they found it very funny, they started making presents and gifts, so the collection grew and grew and it really became so big then.

“I thought it would be nice to make a little museum out of it and then the idea came to open the world's smallest titanic museum.

“It was first opened in 2012. This is now a complete relaunch in my newly built house. I had an architect specially hired who incorporated the museum into the new building.”

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Lisa Maria visiting Belfast

Lisa Maria visiting Belfast

Lisa Maria visiting Belfast

Since then, her collection has ballooned and includes a large library of DVDs and CDs, a number of original small artefacts and a self-made model of the ship Lisa Maria is “particularly proud” of creating.

“The museum is separated into different sections. There is a part that covers the music and the musicians onboard,” she added.

“There is also a connection to Austria in the Titanic story, with 46 passengers on the ship from here and one crew member. I also cover this connection to Austria.

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Some of the items in the museum. Photo by Volker Weihbold

Some of the items in the museum. Photo by Volker Weihbold

Some of the items in the museum. Photo by Volker Weihbold

“On the walls I show newspaper pages front pages from Austrian newspapers which were covering the Titanic story in 1912, not originals but very nice replicas.

“There is a self-made model of the ship I built. I am very proud of that because I have never done something like this before.

“I always try to remember the passengers who died and I have a great respect for them in everything I show.”

Lisa Maria explained visitors getting the chance the visit the museum is limited with it being her private home and the 45-year-old has a busy home life to balance with her twin boys.

However, she said she would “absolutely love” a visitor from Belfast who is interested in visiting to get in contact with her.

“No one from Belfast has visited, I would love to have a guest from Belfast,” she said.

“I love the story of the Titanic because what happened is still relevant today.

“I was in Iceland in 2012 when the volcano erupted. I thought at the time that the whole of Europe stood still because no planes could take off. It reminded me of the Titanic story. People should stay humble when it comes to nature.

“So many people all over the world find something different in the Titanic story. There are so many angles you can look at the story. I myself am not a specialist, but I would say I am an enthusiast.”

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Some of the items in the museum. Photo by Volker Weihbold

Some of the items in the museum. Photo by Volker Weihbold

Some of the items in the museum. Photo by Volker Weihbold


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