A variety of passenger lists, steamer tickets, posters, playing cards and even a steward’s menu ideas will be on display at the centre near Belfast.
It marks the centenary of the Titanic’s launch from Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard and amounts to more than 7,000 items from the Titanic’s parent company the White Star Line.
The Titanic sank in 1912 after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage in the Atlantic. It caused the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
William Blair, head of human history for National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI), said: “For 50 years, from 1869 until 1919, there was never a day when Harland and Wolff did not have a ship under construction for the White Star Line so this collection reveals much about the maritime and industrial context of Titanic.”
The exhibition is intended to correct many preconceptions which existed about onboard class distinction. Mr Blair added: “While the content provides eye-opening insights into the strict class distinctions of the Edwardian era, surprisingly it also shows the unexpected levels of luxury and customer service provided to third-class passengers.”
The collection was compiled over a lifetime by Paul Louden Brown, an authority on the subject.
It also includes uniforms, furniture, photographs, glass lantern slides, diaries, magazines, books and crockery.
Jim McGreevy, director of collections and interpretation for NMNI, said: “We were very pleased to have acquired this unique collection of Titanic’s parent company which is hugely significant to Northern Ireland’s cultural and industrial heritage.
“The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum holds a unique and extensive collection of artefacts relating to the Titanic itself and, importantly, its wider context within the White Star Line fleet.
“This acquisition has equipped national museums with a body of material of international standard which complements its existing archival holdings.”