A consortium of UK museums is trying to buy back quite a large portion of the Titanic, with a huge collection of around 5,500 salvaged pieces of the ship and its possessions and interiors hopefully about to go up for sale – and eventually head back to Belfast.
The collection of returned bits from the wreck is currently owned by US company Premier Exhibitions Inc, which, despite hauling its huge stash of salvaged items around the world to mass hysteria, has declared itself bankrupt. The worry now is that some of the nicer pieces from the collection will be sold off to private Titanic enthusiasts, hence a group of our museums – including the National Maritime Museum and Titanic Belfast – are trying to raise around £15m to buy the entire Titanic treasure haul in one lump.
It's hoped the deal might also include salvage rights to the wreck, meaning it could become an undersea museum rather than a private grave-dredging holiday destination for the super-rich. The US courts are making a decision on July 25 on granting permission to break up the collection or hold it together for the museum bid. The UK museums would like some money in case it's the latter. [Titanic Belfast via Guardian]