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Copper: The Everywhere Metal Part II

by Kris Palmer

Editor’s Note:  Kris Palmer is a public relations professional who has done extensive work for both the Copper Development Association and International Copper Association.  On a recent trip to Ireland and Scotland, she found herself surrounded by interesting applications that demonstrate the functionality and essentiality of copper and she has agreed to share her experiences with us.  This is a continuation of a blog posting about copper in Dublin earlier this month.

As summer draws to a close, I continue to have warm thoughts of travels in Ireland and the copper thread that tied our exploration experiences together.  In a previous blog post, I explained that I write for the CDA and so am probably more in tune with copper images, construction, and various copper applications than others.  However, even if I wasn’t familiar with CU2, the mighty metal, I would have been hard-pressed not to notice a copper connection in every location my family and I visited throughout the Emerald Isle.

Metals in Maritime – Copper in the Titanic Museum, Belfast, Ireland

Our trip to Belfast included an inspiring tour of the new Titanic Museum.  The building exterior, covered with 3,000 folded aluminum panels is shaped like the hull of several great ships, reaching up to the sky.  Inside the museum, one wall of the 6-story museum is covered in copper-colored sheet metal panels, similar in size to the riveted plates that made up the RMS Titanic’s hull.  There’s also a full-scale replica of the Titanic’s iconic red oak grand staircase, complete with copper & brass fixtures.

The RMS Titanic and her sister ships, the Olympic and Britannic, were assembled on “Queen’s Island,” now referred to as the Titanic quarter in Belfast Harbor where the museum is located.  There are nine interpretive galleries inside the museum which seems as large and as elegant as the ship must have been in its day.  The galleries are replete with details of every floor of the Titanic.  The interactive gallery includes large photos of the ship’s passengers and describes the lives of many who boarded the Titanic on April 10, 1912 for its maiden voyage to New York.

On the concourse outside of the museum entrance are larger-than-life letters spelling TITANIC stamped in what first appears to be copper or brass, but are actually made from iron sheet metal.  The recessed letters, which we stood next to in this photo are gone, just like the great ship.

However, many copper artifacts from the Titanic have been recovered.  In fact, 25 percent of the more than 5,000 rescued items from the area where the Titanic sank on April 15, 2014, are made from copper, brass or bronze.

Although many Titanic artifacts are up for auction (and there are even trips to view the submersed ship for $60,000 or more), the Titanic Museum in Belfast provides an impressive, yet respectful approach in telling the full story of the beautiful ship and the lives of those impacted by its first and final voyage.  Copper artifacts recovered from the area around the ship and seen in photos and replications throughout the museum help to recount the story of the ship’s elegance – and leaves a lasting impression on museum visitors today.

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