Take a deep dive into Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Spread over 25,000 square feet, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is a carefully and impressively curated space that retells one of history’s most tragic tales. Be prepared to spend a couple of hours to fully grasp the exhibit’s collection of more than 250 items brought to the surface from the actual ship’s wreckage, which sits 2.5 miles beneath the surface of the North Atlantic.
That extensive collection means a self-guided tour through a series of themed rooms that become a deep dive into history. You’ll read the stories of passengers aboard The Ship of Dreams, browse through a host of displays that hold everything from personal effects to tableware, all plucked from the ship’s final resting place. And paired with detailed re-creations of life aboard the ship, Titanic will come to life for you.
The exhibition starts, well, at the very beginning—the first few rooms reveal the story behind the building of the ship. Through actual blueprints and photographs, learn how the ship’s grand-scale plans were put into action by designers, builders and financial backers, some of whom sailed aboard the Titanic’s maiden voyage.
From there, the journey dives deeper. A series of rooms hold re-creations of third-class and first-class cabins, the Grand Staircase and the promenade deck—all constructed to pull you into life aboard the ship. Read menus of meals served and view photos of dining halls, lounge areas and libraries, where passengers enjoyed their last days. Display cases are filled with many personal items like spectacles, luggage tags, purchase receipts, shaving kits, shoes, sheet music, perfume bottles, fountain pens, playing cards, brushes, jewelry, clothing, money and toiletry bags. These small items, and the stories behind them, help bring the massive tragedy down to a more personal level.
As you continue through rooms brimming with artifacts and information you’ll also find some significantly impactful displays. One is a faux, freshwater iceberg, which you can touch. As you feel the bone-chilling coldness, you’ll learn that the saltwater ocean was actually colder on the night of the sinking than the frigid display before you, resulting in many of the passengers dying of hypothermia rather than drowning.
There’s also a smaller-scale re-creation of the ship as it rests on the ocean’s floor today; check out the massive hole ripped in the side of the Titanic, which caused its fatal flooding—and learn about the multiple ice warnings ignored by the ship’s captain.
One of the largest rooms is dedicated to the exhibit’s Big Piece—an outer section of the C Deck that covered a suite of wardrobe rooms and private baths. This is the largest actual piece ever put on display. Something about the broken glass, still attached to the portholes, brings about a haunting vision of the rushing water that poured through them as the ship began to sink.
The Clark Artifacts
The exhibit recently added never-before-seen artifacts belonging to Virginia Estelle McDowell Clark and her husband, Walter Miller Clark, both who have ties to the Las Vegas area. Clark and his brother, U.S. senator William Andrews Clark, helped build a railway between California and Utah, with the midway point being Las Vegas, resulting in the naming of Clark County, of which Las Vegas is the most prominent city. Walter and Virginia sailed on the Titanic as a belated honeymoon; sadly, Virginia came back a widow as Walter perished with many other passengers. However, in 1994, some of the Clarks’ personal items were recovered—a rare instance where artifacts could be tied to specific passengers—and the pieces are currently on display, including Virginia’s engraved 18-karat gold locket.
Luxor, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, last admission at 9 p.m., $32, $30 seniors at least 65 years of age, $24 children ages 4-12, free children 3 and younger. 702.262.4400