Before the official opening, Friends of Southampton Museums and descendants of the Titanic's survivors were shown around the building this week in a series of special previews. Philip Littlejohn, whose grandfather Alexander James Littlejohn was a Titanic first class steward, was among the first visitors. He said that the museum, which will celebrate Southampton's maritime heritage and those who have travelled in and out of the city, will “keep the story alive for years”.
“There’s so much interest in the Titanic story at the minute,” said a staff member at Gateway Hampshire, “It’s really ingrained into the fabric of Southampton’
Museum consultant Sarah Davis, who has been involved with the exhibition since its creation, is looking forward to welcoming an estimated 160,000 visitors during the first year. “Southampton has been crying out for a good quality visitor attraction like this for a long time,” she said, “In the past, people have just passed through the city either to or from a cruise ship and haven't really had chance to look around and see what's on offer. This should give them a great chance to learn more about Southampton's heritage and make it a destination in its own right.”
Mr Littlejohn said, “The 100th anniversary is really capturing the public's interest in the story again like it did when James Cameron's film came out in 1997. Exhibitions like this will introduce children to the story and if you can capture their imagination at a young age, it helps keep the story alive for years to come.”
Our source at Gateway Hampshire added, “It’s important for the story to be constantly refreshed for new generations. The information and the facts remain the same, but now we have so many better ways to deliver that information to people, and to bring the history alive and even let people experience parts of it for themselves.”