Key safety report on Titanic sinking comes to Halifax museum

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Gerry Lunn shows off an original copy of a report on the loss of the Titanic at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Monday. The book was donated and will now become part of the museum's permanent Titanic exhibit.

HALIFAX - With his notebook and pencil at the ready, six-year-old Jake Stevens watched as a piece of history joined the Titanic exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

After Monday’s event, Jake turned to a page in his notebook where he had drawn a picture of the new artifact—a 1912 book containing the original report resulting from an influential British investigation into the Titanic’s sinking.

Jake had drawn a hand above the book with an ‘X’ through it.

“This means you can’t touch it with a regular hand because it’ll get too salty, you have to touch it with a white glove,” he explained.

The new artifact was added to the permanent exhibit on the 101st anniversary of the famed ship’s sinking.

“It’s the document that basically made Titanic transition from a very sad tragedy into an event that changed history,” said Dan Conlin, the museum’s curator of Marine History.

Conlin described the new artifact as “this ominous black volume [that] has ‘Titanic Etc.’ written on it.”

While those words are printed in gilt lettering on the spine, the true title of the fragile document is “Report on the loss of the Titanic.”

The book, issued by the British Parliament, makes 15 safety recommendations.

“(It) made some good sensible recommendations—that nobody seemed to have thought of prior to 1912—like lifeboats for everyone aboard and round-the-clock radio monitoring for distress signals and mandatory reporting of icebergs,” said Conlin.

He says recommendations within the book, such as these, are still in effect today.

A Canadian, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently donated the book to the museum’s permanent collection.


Organizations: Halifax museum, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, British Parliament

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