A campaign has been launched to bring over 5,500 artifacts from the Titanic wreck site back to the location where the famous ship was built in Northern Ireland.
Director James Cameron and Dr. Bob Ballard, the man who discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, have thrown their weight behind a campaign to bring 5,500 artifacts from the ship’s wreck site to Northern Ireland.
The rare collection, including a section of the ship’s hull and a bronze cherub decoration from the ship’s grand staircase, has become available after the US company which owned it filed for bankruptcy.
Hoping to bring the artifacts back to Belfast, where the famous ship was built, Titanic Belfast, the Titanic Foundation, National Museums Northern Ireland and the National Maritime Museum, along with Cameron and Dr. Ballard, have joined forces to launch the multi-million pound Titanic Artefacts Collection campaign.
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Cameron, who made his first expedition to the ship’s wreckage in 1995 while researching for his widely successful 1997 Titanic movie, is supporting the bid through his Avatar Alliance Foundation, stating that he feels a “deep responsibility” to the ship and in keeping its artifacts together.
"You feel responsible to get the story right and honor the dead and the tragedy," he said.
"I went to the wreck site [in 1995] for a purpose, to film the Titanic for a movie but I came away with a sense of a greater purpose which is to tell that story by whatever means.
“Once Titanic is in your life, it doesn't leave easily.
"When the issue of the artifacts came up, Bob Ballard contacted me and said this was happening and I said we should do something do about it."
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Legendary filmmaker, deep sea explorer and Avatar Alliance Foundation, James Cameron, director of the critically acclaimed movie, #Titanic, is backing our campaign to keep the #TitanicArtefacts together.
Find out more: https://t.co/ZgaAzXkTFd pic.twitter.com/IsY2NxZeF0— Titanic Artefacts Collection (@TitanicArtefact) July 24, 2018
The director and Dr. Ballard worked together to organize a meeting with Conal Harvey, the deputy chairman of Titanic Belfast, at the National Geographic Society last year, after which the society committed $500,000 to the cause.
“One of the concerns is that the collection would be broken up, sold privately, the bankruptcy court might award the company the opportunity to break up the collection, to sell it piecemeal and it would disappear from the public eye,” Cameron added.
"That's why people who feel some responsibility around Titanic has stepped up.
.@NatGeo is backing our campaign to bring the #TitanicArtefacts home, pledging $500,000 to the cause.
Find out more: https://t.co/ZgaAzXkTFd@TitanicBelfast @TFL_Belfast #NationalMuseumsNI @RMGreenwich pic.twitter.com/jH1oEbMjli— Titanic Artefacts Collection (@TitanicArtefact) July 24, 2018
"If it's sold privately that would be wrong, it's a part of the world heritage. It's an incredible piece of history.
"I spent more time on the ship than the captain did," Cameron continued.
“From the first moment we raised this idea it was a dream, but I think the chances are very good and certainly it's moved from an idea to a dream to a partnership.”
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“The final chapter in the Titanic’s maiden voyage is for her to come home” Dr Robert Ballard #TitanicArtefacts @TitanicArtefact pic.twitter.com/Kgbz8XUiYl— Kathryn Thomson (@KThomsonNI) July 24, 2018
The Titanic Artefacts Collection campaign was launched in Titanic Belfast on Tuesday where Dr. Ballard stated that it was the “only viable option to retain the integrity” of the artifacts and that the collection “deserved to be returned home to where its journey began.”
You can find more information on the campaign here.