The head of the project envisages a museum that will stand out thanks to the sensory interactive experience. Participants will visit the boiler room, the engine room, a third class cabin and a first class cabin. The exhibition will reproduce the sounds heard by the passengers during the drama and a refrigerated wall will allow visitors to feel the temperature on the night of April 14th.
Visitors will receive a boarding pass on behalf of a passenger of the time with details about it. David Van Velzen added that many of the 130 Canadian passengers on board the Titanic in 1912 had connections with southern Ontario, particularly between Toronto and Fort Erie. He wants to illustrate their history inside the museum.
The purchase of the property is yet to be finalized. David Van Velzen plans to open the exhibition in spring 2018.
Men and death have a long history of rites and customs with adventures sometimes extraordinary. If the history of the Titanic is extremely famous, an episode nevertheless is known to a very small number of insiders. That of the forty engineers sent to recover the bodies of the dead of the Titanic.
The men had reached their destination. They knew nothing about it, of course, and had to rely on the wisdom of the sailors. The sea was gray and opaque. The ship Cabler Mackay-Benett was no more used to receiving passengers than those to sail.
There were forty doctors engaged by the funeral company John Snow Et Cie, the largest in the Halifax area, which was hired by the shipowner White Star. Forty embalmers, and a pastor, the Reverend Kenneth Hind, had been commissioned by his bishop.
All the crew had volunteered, and the Mackay-Benett owner, the Commercial Cable Company, had decided to double their pay for this very special mission. The cabler was charged with all the equipment ordered by the embalmers, several tons of ice, a hundred coffins, canvas shrouds and iron bars to weigh them.
The forty embalmers, the pastor, the crew, and even the commander FH Lardner, who was experienced and accustomed to the fortunes of the sea, stared at this zone, 41 ° 46'N, 50 ° 14'W, Morning of Friday, April 19, 1912, when, five days before, the Titanic had sunk, carrying 1520 people.
Their mission was simple to recover as many bodies as possible, to embalm them in order to be able to return them to their families, if possible, and, for those who were too affected, to entrust them to the sea after the Reverend Hind had carried out a funeral oration.
Captain Lardner had appealed to the ships cruising the area, and soon the answers arrived. Several bodies had been spotted, more or less close to the area where the Carpathia had recovered surviving survivors' canoes. It must be said that the area where the White Star liner had sunk was uncertain, the canoes had moved away from it to avoid being sucked into a vortex before spending part of the night drifting.
The Mackay-Benett did not arrive until the end of the day in the area where the first bodies had been spotted. At nightfall, the commander decided to postpone the start of operations until the next day. The evening was sinister. On Saturday, April 20, the boats were put into the sea, and the first rotations began.
The bodies were kept afloat thanks to their lifejackets. The procedure was observed scrupulously. The sailors of the boat boarded a body and tied around a leg a piece of cloth on which was inscribed a number. The personal affairs of the deceased were placed in a canvas bag bearing the same number.
Then the bodies were brought back to the Mackay-Benett, where it was entrusted to a team of two embalmers. The latter begins by describing, in a register, the deceased: size, weight, hair color, particular signs, inventory of personal objects, all that could be used to identify it. The name was entered only when identification was formally possible.
Then the embalmers decided whether the body was sufficiently in good condition or not to receive conservation care which would have allowed to repatriate it in a closed coffin. In the contrary case, the body is sealed in a shroud of linen weighted with bars of iron, and entrusted to the sea after an office of the Reverend Hind.
The Mackay-Benett crew, and particularly the sailors assigned to salvage, were very affected by this task and the magnitude of the disaster. Their pain materialized when they recovered a child, about two years old. Captain Lardner later testified that all the sailors had made a hedge of honor to the toddler, and all, without exception, including the most hardened sea-wolves, exploded into a sob on seeing the little spoil. The child was their catharsis.
The child was not identified, but the sailors insisted that they also are embalmed and repatriated to Halifax. On April 26, the Mackay-Benett, whose holds were full, was relieved by the cable operator Minia and returned to Halifax. He brings back 190 corpses, 100 in coffins and 90 in canvas bags. As in their lifetime, the passengers benefited from their social class.
Thus, the first-class passengers identified were placed in coffins and embalmed, while the second and third class passengers, like the Titanic crew, were simply kept in canvas bags immersed in ice. In all, the sailors will have recovered 306 bodies and have returned to the water 116, too damaged to be transportable under conditions of hygiene.
The child was never identified but, repatriated to Halifax coast with the sailors of Mackay-Benett to offer a burial and a tombstone. The funeral of the child took place in Halifax, where they were buried at the end of a particularly moving ceremony offered by the locals, who came en masse to accompany them to their last home in the cemetery of Fairview. On the tombstone offered by the Mackay-Benett crew, one reads Unknown child whose remains were collected after the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. It is still visible today.