Campaign to Bring Titanic Artefacts Back Home

A high profile campaign has been launched to bring artefacts from Titanic back home

National Geographic has pledged $500,000 towards efforts supported by movie maker and deep sea explorer, James Cameron and Dr. Robert Ballard, Discoverer of the Titanic.

The Titanic champions pledged their support at the event which formally launched a $20m campaign by Royal Museums Greenwich, National Museums Northern Ireland, Titanic Belfast and Titanic Foundation Limited for the 5,500 artefacts, which were recovered from the seabed by salvors, over the course of seven deep sea expeditions between 1987 and 2004.

The National Geographic Society and National Geographic Explorers-at-Large, Dr. Robert Ballard, the famed oceanographer who discovered the RMS Titanic wreck, and James Cameron, film-maker and deep sea explorer, are backing an innovative collaboration between the four organisations to purchase the entirety of the Titanic Artefacts Collection and bring them home to the UK and Ireland.

At Titanic Belfast, on the exact location where RMS Titanic was designed, built and launched, National Geographic Society Interim President and CEO Michael L. Ulica announced the Society’s support via a pledge of $500,000 toward the funds required to complete the bid.

The unique collaboration aims to protect, preserve and unite all the artefacts, which are currently at risk of being split up and sold. The current owners of the collection have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States.

If successful, the bid will secure the entirety of the Titanic Artefacts Collection in public ownership in perpetuity. Additionally, the organisations seek to obtain the responsibility of salvor in possession and assign this to the National Maritime Museum and National Museum Northern Ireland to ensure the protection of the RMS Titanic wreck site.

In a video statement, James Cameron, director of the Academy Award-winning 1997 movie Titanic and National Geographic Explorer-at-Large, said, “The story of the Titanic has captivated the imaginations, hearts and minds of people around the world. It’s played an important role in my own life – as a film-maker, a deep sea explorer and as an advocate of deep-ocean research.

“Along with National Geographic, Titanic Belfast, Titanic Foundation, Royal Museums Greenwich, National Museums Northern Ireland and my friend, Dr. Robert Ballard, I’m proud to support the campaign to bring the Titanic Artefacts Collection home.

“The sinking of the Titanic was a heartbreaking moment in history. Securing the irreplaceable collection of artefacts – protecting and preserving them for future generations by placing them in the public trust – is a unique and important opportunity to honour the 1,503 passengers and crew who died.”

Dr. Robert Ballard, the former US Naval Commander and National Geographic Explorer-at-Large who discovered the wreck site, said: “I’m lending my voice to this campaign as it is the right thing to do. This bid is the only viable option to retain the integrity of the Titanic collection. The collection deserves to be returned home to where its journey began.”

The campaign also has the support of the National Geographic Society, which has built a legacy of ground breaking research, exploration, education and storytelling dedicated to the Titanic disaster.