Top 10 Titanic Resources
Father Browne SJ Photographic Collection
The 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster this April will no doubt provide opportunities for teaching about this historic event. The internet is full of sites dedicated to the fateful ship — some better than others. Here is our Top Ten list (eleven, actually) of Titanic websites that contain primary sources, content, and classroom activities for teachers.
Halifax has a unique connection with the Titanic, as it was the main city involved in the recovery activities, and is the final resting place for many of the ship's victims. The Nova Scotia Archives has a virtual exhibit that features a number of high resolution photographs and documents. Most of the content relates to the recovery, identification, and disposition of the victims. The website includes a scanned and transcribed version of a document called 'Disposition of Bodies ex Titanic Recovered up to May 13, 1912.' This document was created by The Provincial Secretary's Office, Government of Nova Scotia (the agency responsible for all matters relating to the identification and disposition of the dead), and is the most complete record of the bodies recovered from the site.
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has a permanent exhibit dedicated to the Titanic. Their website provides a good overview of the disaster, with consideration of Nova Scotia’s role in the recovery of casualties. The museum also has an exhibit and online content relating to the Halifax Explosion, which might be useful in comparing the public memory and legacy of these disasters.
Titanic in Nova Scotia: 100 Years is a website is maintained by Nova Scotia’s Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage to mark the 2012 centennial. The website features images and objects from the Nova Scotia Archives and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (tip: be sure to check out the curator’s note on the Unknown Child’s Shoes, for a good example of the work and care that went in to properly identifying these artifacts). The Locations of Interest Google Map provides great content on significant sites around Halifax, and provides historic and modern photos.
If your students’ understanding of the Titanic comes from James Cameron’s 1997 film, the Media Awareness Network can help you channel discussion. The site includes several comprehensive essays for teachers about the Titanic, its relationship with the media (in both historic and contemporary terms) and its role in popular culture. Teachers will also find a few good inquiry-based research questions and activities for the classroom.
For a different perspective on the event, you can visit Titanic Stories — a website created by Tourism Ireland. The Titanic was built in Belfast, which had the largest shipyard in the world and was an important industrial centre. The website has news and events relating to Ireland’s centennial plans, but also features material that can be used in the classroom, including video shorts (ranging from an Edwardian makeover to an account of Titanic photographic and passenger, Father Frank Brown), and content and images documenting the Titanic’s life.
This website houses a digital collection of the photographs taken by the Titanic’s unofficial photographer, Father Frank Brown. Father Brown rode on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, and befriended an American couple who offered to pay for his ticket to continue the journey to New York. However, when he telegraphed his superior requesting permission to stay on board, the return response read “Get off that ship – Provincial." Father Brown, and his now-famous photographs, disembarked the Titanic and returned to Dublin. His photographs from his brief time on the ship are the best visual sources of the Titanic.
The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has an interesting online exhibit about the Titanic and transatlantic mail. As a designated Royal Mail Steamship (R.M.S. Titanic), it is estimated that between 6 and 9 million letters and packages were lost when the ship sank. The exhibit outlines the “glory days” of sea post service, and shares the stories of the 5 post clerks who perished during the Titanic disaster. The exhibit also features a video that explains the post service aboard the Titanic, while taking viewers through the wreck.
This website is a virtual exhibit and archive dedicated to Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless communication. Marconi’s technology had only been introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, and the Titanic was just one of the marine disasters that relied on wireless communication as part of its rescue effort. This website takes you through Marconi’s life and his inventions, with a special section devoted to the Titanic. The archive includes images and transcripts of the actual messages to and from the Titanic.
Ultimate Titanic is a wiki-like website created by a group of educators and historians. The website contains lots of information on the ship, the disaster, and our popular memory, and incorporates primary documents, images, and videos. Ultimate Titanic has a collection of lesson plans and resources (external), for teachers looking to incorporate the Titanic into their classroom this April.
This website has the largest collection of information relating to the Titanic. Visitors can look through passenger lists and biographies, find detailed ship plans, or read recent articles on a range of Titanic-related topics. This site is a good starting point for conducting research or providing students with data and information about the Titanic.
The BBC Archive has put together a collection of oral histories from survivors of the Titanic. Their earliest account is from Commander CH Lightoller, the most senior surviving officer, and was first broadcast in 1936 (audio only). The collection also includes more recent videos documenting the discovery of the wreck in 1985.