An Austrian, who has created what is believed to be the world’s smallest Titanic museum in her toilet, said she would be happy to welcome a visitor from Belfast.
isa Maria Atteneder-Schwödiauer opened the museum in her private home in St. Florian near Linz, Austria.
The passenger liner, operated by the White Star Line, sank in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton, UK, to New York City. More than 1,500 died.
The ship was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
The enthusiast explained that she was “fascinated” by the history of the liner when she was just 9 years old and said her “heart beats in Ireland” having studied in Cork 20 years ago and visited Belfast on numerous occasions .
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, she said she was inspired to create the private museum in the unusual space of her home after realizing there was nowhere else to keep the many memorabilia she had amassed over the years .
“When I came back I started getting more and more things that I had brought from Ireland and I wanted to put them somewhere in my flat where I could see them, but the flat was pretty small at the time,” she explained.
“I had this tiny white tile toilet and it was boring. I started putting pictures on the door and walls, and I went to an exhibition in London and hung the tickets from that exhibition on the wall.
“When my friends came they thought it was really fun, they started making gifts and presents so the collection just kept growing and growing and then it got really big.
“I thought it would be nice to make a small museum out of it, and then the idea of opening the smallest Titanic museum in the world came up.
“It opened for the first time in 2012. This is now a complete relaunch in my newly built home. I hired an architect who integrated the museum into the new building.”
Since then, her collection has exploded and includes a large library of DVDs and CDs, a number of original small artifacts, and a homemade model of the ship that Lisa Maria is “particularly proud of.”
“The museum is divided into different areas. There’s a part that deals with the music and the musicians on board,” she added.
“Also in the Titanic story there is a connection to Austria, with 46 passengers on the ship from here and one crew member. I also cover this connection to Austria.
“On the walls I show front pages of Austrian newspapers that reported on the Titanic story in 1912, not originals but very nice replicas.
“There is a home-made model of the ship that I built. I’m very proud of that because I’ve never done anything like it before.
“I always try to remember the passengers who have died and I have great respect for them in everything I show.”
Lisa Maria explained that visitors’ ability to visit the museum is limited as it is her private home and the 45-year-old has to balance a busy personal life with her twins.
However, she said she would “absolutely love” a visitor from Belfast interested in visiting to get in touch with her.
“Nobody from Belfast has visited us, I would like a guest from Belfast,” she said.
“I love the Titanic story because what happened is still relevant today.
“I was in Iceland in 2012 when the volcano erupted. At the time, I thought that all of Europe was standing still because no planes could take off. It reminded me of the Titanic story. People should remain humble when it comes to nature.
“So many people around the world find something different in the Titanic story. There are so many angles to look at the story from. I am not a specialist myself, but I would say I am an enthusiast.”
Lisa Maria has also visited Titanic Belfast many times and was there for the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking where she met Dr. Robert Ballard met. He discovered the ship in 1985.
She said visiting the museum in Belfast was “overwhelming”.
“I liked the different approaches the museum offers the information. It never gets boring, every room and hall – everything is just different from what you’ve seen before,” she added.
“If you’re not a Titanic fan, you will be after leaving this building. It is also done with a very humble approach to them.
“The fact that it doesn’t show any artifacts might be disappointing to someone expecting it, but in a way it’s good because it puts the story of the passengers center stage. It is good that you value what you have built in Belfast so highly.”
Further information can be found on the museum’s website www.titanicmuseum.at
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/austrian-woman-behind-worlds-smallest-titanic-museum-built-in-her-toilet-would-love-to-welcome-belfast-visitors-41888288.html Austrian woman behind world’s smallest Titanic museum – built in her toilet – would love to welcome Belfast visitors