1st Expedition

Using IFREMER’s state-of-the-art technology, including the manned submersible Nautile, the expedition team recovered some 1,800 objects. Iconic artifacts included instruments from the stern Docking Bridge, a decorative cherub and several pursers’ or leather traveling bags.


2nd Expedition

In April 1993, RMS Titanic, Inc. and IFREMER conducted a second joint expedition to Titanic‘s wreck site with the French research and recovery ship Nadir. The French American team recovered approximately 800 artifacts, including a set of the Ship’s whistles, a double lifeboat davit and base, and a two-ton engine eccentric strap. Almost miraculously, along with these heavy metal objects, a delicate jet bead and a child’s marbles were also brought to the surface.


3rd Expedition

In the summer of 1994, RMS Titanic, Inc., with IFREMER, returned to Titanic‘s wreck site. Artifacts including personal effects such as a boot, binoculars, and a 2-ton set of bollards, which once secured Titanic‘s mooring lines, were recovered. In addition, a 17-ton section of the Ship’s hull, found lying on the seabed, was painstakingly measured by Nautile for retrieval at a later expedition. The artifacts recovered subsequently went on exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England where they were seen by over 720,000 people.


4th Expedition

This was RMS Titanic, Inc.’s fourth mission and one that conducted groundbreaking scientific investigations into the wreck. Using the most sophisticated research tools available and advanced techniques of reverse engineering, forensic science, and crash investigation, an international team of naval architects, microbial biologists, metallurgists, and historians from five countries examined the Ship and attempted to solve the mysteries surrounding the disaster. To determine how fast Titanic is corroding on the seabed, Canadian microbiologist Dr. Roy Cullimore conducted investigations into the “rusticles,” elaborate colonies of iron-consuming microorganisms that cover nearly every surface of the hull. Cullimore concluded that the iron-eating microbes have already consumed as much as 20% of the bow. The major purpose of the 1996 expedition, however, was to record and document the wreck in detail. This was an ambitious agenda and would last 30 days. IFREMER’s Nadir and Nautile were once more employed as well as Ocean Voyager, an oceanographic research ship, which carried four purpose-built Edison light towers, and served as a filming base for the documentary film shot by the Discovery Channel and the Ellipse program of France during the expedition.


5th Expedition

This expedition was the fifth one for RMS Titanic, Inc. and IFREMER continued many of the scientific investigations it started on Expedition 1996. In addition, new debris fields were discovered, including an area west of the stern section containing a significant amount of passenger baggage. The team recovered remarkable artifacts with the assistance of the recovery vessel Abeille Supporter, including the D-Deck Door, and, most significantly, a 17-ton section of the hull, which came to be known as The “Big Piece”. This is the largest and most significant section of the Ship ever recovered. Examinations of the hull made it clear that Titanic is deteriorating more rapidly than previously thought. As a result, the ongoing scientific investigations into the physical events surrounding the sinking became more urgent. Expedition 1998 also established, for the first time in history, a live fiber-optic television link from the bottom of the ocean, permitting viewers to watch in real time the exploration of the wreck by a manned submersible, and thus earning the record for the deepest underwater live broadcast.


6th Expedition

This was RMS Titanic, Inc.’s sixth expedition to the wreck site. For this endeavor, the Company utilized the services of the Russian P.P. Shirshov Institute, its research vessel Keldysh, and its submersibles MIR I and MIR II. Knowledge of the Ship was increased by the exciting recovery of the main wheel and steering stand, the navigating bridge wheel steering stand, two engine telegraphs, an automatic whistle timer, and the capstan controller wheel and stand from the docking bridge. The most astonishing recovery of the Expedition may well have been sixty-five perfume vials belonging to first-class passenger Adolphe Saafeld of Manchester, England. When this miraculous find was brought into the conservation laboratory, the aroma of Edwardian perfume filled the air stopping everyone in their tracks.


7th Expedition

RMS Titanic, Inc. conducted its seventh research and recovery mission to Titanic‘s wreck site. The mission utilized a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) rather than the manned submersibles used on previous expeditions. The ROV, provided by Phoenix International, Inc., was equipped with cameras, lighting systems, and two manipulator arms that allowed the team to engage in round-the-clock underwater operations and to watch those operations in real-time from the surface. A variety of artifacts were recovered during the expedition; each rescue was documented as to time and location by video, still photographs, and written notations. Perhaps the most exciting artifacts rescued were two never-before-seen: a gilded wall sconce from the À la Carte Restaurant and the frame of a tile from the Turkish Bath. The tile still retains, and finally documents, the vibrant blue color used in the decor of the Bath.


8th Expedition

Conducted in the summer of 2010, the team returned to the wreck site in what is considered the most technologically advanced scientific expedition to Titanic ever organized. RMS Titanic, Inc. brought together a team of leading archaeologists, oceanographers, and scientists to take innovative measures to virtually raise Titanic, preserving the legacy of the Ship for all time.  It is the Company’s purpose to preserve the memory of Titanic and of all who sailed on the ship and to promote that memory with respect and regard for the Ship’s historical and maritime significance.


9th Expedition

In July 2024, the world’s leading deep ocean imaging experts, oceanographers, scientists, and historians will gather to launch RMS Titanic, Inc.’s first expedition to the wreck site of the RMS Titanic since 2010. This expedition will utilize cutting-edge technology to focus on imaging and high-resolution photography of the site to preserve the Titanic’s legacy for future generations and scientific study. It will be carried out by ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) to survey the wreck site and debris field. The images captured will reveal important new insights into the condition of the site, areas and artifacts at risk, and contribute to ongoing conservation efforts and educational initiatives already underway. Learn more here.


Expeditions to recover Titanic artifacts have been a collaborative effort between RMS Titanic, Inc.; The French Oceanographic Institute; and the Moscow-based P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. These expeditions have been conducted at the Titanic’s wreck site, located 963 miles northeast of New York and 453 miles southeast of the Newfoundland coastline, during the summers of 1987, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2010.

Nautile and MIR submersibles are used for the recovery in Expeditions 1987, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1998; these machines are equipped with mechanical arms capable of scooping, grasping, and recovering the artifacts, which are then either collected in sampling baskets, or placed in lifting baskets. The crew compartment of each submersible accommodates three people – a pilot, a co-pilot, and an observer – who each have a one-foot-thick plastic porthole between themselves and the depths. Both submersibles have the capabilities of operating and deploying a Remote-Controlled Vehicle on a 110-foot tether which is then flown inside the wreck to record images.

In the 2004 Expedition, the Remora 6000 Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) was used for the recovery of objects. This ROV was controlled from the surface via ROV pilots.

Each recovered artifact undergoes conservation following carefully designed processes to remove rust and salt deposits


Once an artifact leaves the water and is exposed to the air, it must undergo an immediate stabilization process to prevent further deterioration.


Artifacts are cleaned with a soft brush and placed in foam-lined tubs of fresh water.


Artifacts are brought to our conservation laboratory where contaminating surface salts are removed from each of the artifacts.


Artifacts are conserved: After a period of six months to two years, artifacts can be conserved using treatments that are compatible with each artifact’s construction materials.

Conservation Process

Metal objects are placed in a desalination bath and undergo the first steps of electrolysis, a process that removes negative ions and salt from the artifact. Electrolysis is now being used to remove salts from paper, leather, and wood as well. These materials also receive treatments of chemical agents and fungicides that remove rust and fungus from them.

Paper artifacts are first freeze-dried to remove water and are then cleaned with specialized vacuums and hand tools to remove dirt and debris. Leather artifacts are soaked or injected with a water-soluble wax which replaces voids previously filled by water and debris.

Artifacts are displayed in specially designed cases where temperature, relative humidity and light levels can be controlled, protecting the artifacts from these three agents of deterioration. The artifacts displayed have been conserved and are continuously monitored and maintained so that they can be shown in the Exhibition as well as preserved for the future.

Titanic Facts