Behind-the-scenes at Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast
Country: Northern Ireland
City: Belfast
Institution Type: Historic/Heritage
Year Founded: 2012

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People from all around the world know the Titanic story but are often unaware of the ship’s fascinating history or its home, Belfast. Titanic Belfast’s The Titanic Experience tells the story not only of the ship herself but the people and the city that built her through the use of innovative design, interpretation and technology. As the Experience grew in popularity and smashed visitor targets, Titanic Belfast recognised the need to redevelop its existing audio guide, with the flexibility to be rolled out in different languages. It wanted to provide something more creative, engaging and streamlined for local and international visitors alike.

Therefore it employed Antenna International to develop a brand new multi-media guide that could offer guests a more interactive aspect to the Experience, offering additional verbal and visual information that is not displayed within the galleries, giving them a more personal feel.

To determine the most effective approach, one which would inform and at the same time entertain visitors, Antenna met with Titanic Belfast’s Visitor Experience, Marketing and Communications and its Learning and Outreach teams to understand the full breadth and depth of the exhibit, the habits of its visitors and its assets.

From these conversations, it was clear that the staff and their knowledge were among Titanic Belfast’s key assets. Antenna were keen to capitalise on this, ensuring that even if visitors didn’t speak to staff directly during their visit, they still got the benefit of their knowledge. Antenna left no stone unturned, conducting interviews with everyone, asking them to share their favourite part of the Titanic story. These staff interviews and photographs were seamlessly incorporated into the multi-media guide, adding a personal and local touch encouraging visitors to interact further with staff in the Experience.

Antenna understood Titanic Belfast’s mission to educate visitors on all aspects of the Titanic story, specifically its links to Belfast and excitement around the ship’s launch.

“We wanted to show the joy of the ship being built in Belfast – families could find work, money was coming into the city and creativity surged. Belfast was coming up in the world,” said Fiona Houston, a content designer at Antenna who produced the Titanic Belfast project. “It wasn’t just about the ship. It was also about how it affected Belfast and the people who built her. The multi-media guide does an incredible job of capturing these other aspects of the story – not just the tragic sinking.”

Antenna seamlessly integrated audio and video into the tour to enhance the storytelling and create a more captivating experience. One of the most successful examples is in the Maiden Voyage Gallery where photographs from passenger and prolific photographer, Father Brown are on display. The multi- media guide provides context and additional extras including audio about Father Brown’s experiences and observations aboard the ship, including his decision to get off before it sailed for New York – a choice that saved his life.

Antenna also worked in accordance with Titanic Belfasts’s brand guidelines to ensure the multi-media guide integrated seamlessly with the existing brand: it utilized existing assets, specifically the ‘family trail’ characters. Antenna animated these characters, further developing their personalities to tell Titanic’s history and bring the story to life in an entertaining and engaging way for younger audiences.

“With the multi-media guide, we have provided Titanic Belfast with a consistent visitor experience and dwell time,” Houston noted. “The new multi-media guide provides a great balance of being informative while also keeping visitors engaged and moving through the exhibit.”

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