TOM Zaller was never a Titanic fanatic as a child, nor did he see the James Cameron film at the cinema in 1997, but he has more than made up for this after working on multiple exhibitions on the maritime tragedy for the past 16 years.
He even visited the wreck site in 2000.
Zaller, who grew up in Cleveland and toured on shows from The Phantom of the Opera to magician David Copperfield, worked for other exhibition producers before starting Atlanta-based Imagine Exhibitions in 2009.
His latest Titanic The Exhibition has toured since 2012, and opens in Perth tomorrow.
Like Bruce Ismay and Lord William Pirrie’s dream to change transatlantic ocean travel, Zaller’s ambition was to create the largest and newest travelling Titanic exhibition.
“I wanted to make this really comprehensive exhibition that not only dealt with a subset of a story but told the whole story,” he said.
“The dream is how it always starts and then you get down to the physical elements and all those little subtleties that make it feel special.
“It touches on so many levels and no matter what you like the best with the exhibition, whether it’s the artefacts or the re-creation of the grand staircase or the manufactured iceberg you can touch, all of those are just there to support the human story and that’s where we all connect.
“We can all relate to someone on the Titanic.”
Exhibition goers receive a greater connection through the issue of a boarding pass on admission with details of either a passenger or crewmember.
At the end of the exhibition you find out the fate of your person, which Zaller described as a simple yet powerful moment.
Titanic The Exhibition, which takes two to three weeks to install, 10 days to remove and travels in almost 20 12m containers, also features a room dedicated to Cameron’s film, featuring the dress Rose wore during the sinking, Jack’s outfit, a copy of Jack’s sketch of Rose and other movie props including a Heart of the Ocean necklace designed by The J. Peterman Company in Los Angeles.
“You could end the show without them but I think it’s fun for people too,” Zaller said.
“It’s how most young people got their connection to Titanic and it’s a great movie.”
What: Titanic The Exhibition
Where: Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
When: showing until February 9