The Tyler Public Library is taking Tyler residents on a unique experience throughout the entire month of April as its new Titanic exhibit puts visitors at the scene of the ship’s historical sinking.
Thursday marked the 109th anniversary of the Titanic sinking in the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg in 1912. The library is hosting an exhibit featuring stories of the deceased and survivors.
“As you come in, you get a boarding pass and on the back of the boarding pass is an actual person who was in the Titanic as well as some of their background and what cabin they were in and if it’s available and what class they were in,” said Rozanna Bennett, reference librarian at the Tyler Public Library.
The exhibit is providing an in-depth Titanic experience from learning stories about survivors and deceased passengers, boarding experiences based on social classes, information about the Carpathia ship that picked up survivors, witness statements from the Titanic trial and even a silent film showing of real footage of the Titanic and Carpathia coming back to New York with the survivors.
Bennett is a huge fan of the ship and believes people will enjoy learning more details besides what the movie has to offer.
“There’s things in the movie that are true, that absolutely happened. Even when you read some of these stories you’ll see like I saw that character in the movie, I remember them in the background or being talked about. I would encourage people to come and see what the movie is actually based on and there’s so many more stories that are amazing to know about,” she said.
She mentioned how the Titanic impacted history.
“I think it’s important to tell these people’s stories because it’s such a tragedy and it tells such an interesting part of our history. It was kind of in the decline of the class society, which is relevant to know about. So much of the human spectrum is told between stories of love and courage and stories of fear and loss,” Bennett said.
The rows of clippings on the walls are items Bennett found, bought and researched. Some of the items come from her own home that she had framed.
The exhibit had been planned for two months and it took her a month to put it together. She encouraged Tyler residents to come and broaden their knowledge about the famous ship.
“I think just getting a broader knowledge of what actually happened, so many people are familiar with the movie and for some is all that they know. The movie did a great job in some aspects, but it didn’t touch the immensity of everything that really happened. So I think just educating people and letting them see what life was like back then. Some of these people that lost their life so early, get to be remembered for another moment and there’s something really beautiful and special about that.”
The exhibit will be open until April 30 from Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Due to city building regulations, masks are being required for ages 10 and up. The exhibit is located on the side door of the library auditorium.
The library is at 201 S. College Ave. in downtown Tyler.