Reviewed by Jolene Keddy
This is a great museum to visit for all the family. I took my son and his friend who are both four. They loved it because the museum is full of interactive displays and I felt comfortable with them not being quiet. The exhibitions and staff have created a lovely family atmosphere.
The whole of the Titanic exhibition is really well thought out. The exhibition takes you through the life of the Titanic, giving you perspectives from crew and the different classes of passengers. There are real stories of all of these groups of people at different stages of the journey and it gives you an insight into their lives.
The boys of course loved being able to steer the ship and stoke the fires. To be honest we probably enjoyed these parts just as much and may have wanted to take over steering the ship so that it wouldn’t go around in circles! They also looked very cute in the dress up, I feel however that the trilby looked best on me!
One of my highlights was the Titanic Court. It is just brilliant. They have created a court room, including docks, the jury area and judges chair. Then on two massive screen either side of the court, testimonies from the actual trial are read by actors. This was such a great way to involve you with the stories of the Titanic and it is something that I had never really considered before. The boys also loved seating in all the seats and pretending to be judges or criminals which meant me and my friend had time to listen to all the testimonies.
The other permanent exhibition is Gateway to the World. This told stories of Southampton’s past and of the movement of goods and people in and out of the docks. Like the Titanic area there are lots of interactive displays. There is a massive touch screen table which you can use to get more information; a whole family of CGI rats run across the screen at one point. There is also a dig for treasure screen, which was our favourite part in this exhibition. There are lots of other things to see including, artefacts, screens with actors playing out historical characters and there is a very large display of ships with extra information on touch screen displays.
The temporary exhibition was War Games. The boys thought this was great. There were so many things that they could play with. This was the last place we visited and my son really did not want to leave and kept asking to go back. I am not very interested in war but I did think that the exhibition had been really well put together. There was a good mix of interactive fun things to do and information. The link between war and war games including the fantasy side was also interesting. Advertised in the museum was a dinosaur exhibition in June and considering the quality of this exhibition I will definitely be bringing my son back to see it.
The building itself is also beautiful, the ceilings are really pretty and the whole building is obviously cared for. There is not a musty museum smell, it is a very clean place, including the toilets. The toilets downstairs and baby changing looked as though they have been recently done and to a high standard.
The only downside to the day was when at half past one we went to have lunch in the cafe and all of the sandwiches and hot food had sold out. Sadly this meant that we had to cut the time we spent in the war games exhibition, (hence my son’s small melt down) as we were starving. On the bright side though the museum is in really easy walking distance to west quay, so we were able to get food there really easily.
The staff were also really helpful throughout the day. The lady on reception was really polite and friendly and the exhibition staff were also helpful. As I so often do, I followed my son into the Titanic exhibition which meant we did it back to front. One of the staff members was very kind and made sure we hadn’t missed any of the exhibition.
Overall this is a great museum to take two four years olds, they were fully entertained throughout. As an adult I found the displays really interesting and my friend is set to do further research into the Titanic. I also think older children would get a lot from the way SeaCity Museum presents its information. It is very creative and imaginative.
Tickets cost: £7 (children 5-16 years), £9.50 (adult), £29.50 (family: 2 adults, 3 children) and children under 5 go free.
For more information visit www.seacitymuseum.co.uk.
SeaCity Museum, Civic Centre, Havelock Road, Southampton, SO14 7FY