The small wicker suitcase, owned by Titanic’s only living survivor, Millvina Dean, of England, is on display through the end of the year at Titanic Museum Attraction.
“This will be the world’s first look at an important piece of Titanic history, one that’s not been seen by the public for 96 years,” said John Joslyn, owner of Titanic Museum Attraction. “We feel privileged to be given this unique opportunity to honor Millvina Dean and her contributions to Titanic’s legacy and to showcase one of her most valued possessions — a small, memory-filled suitcase.
“It tells the story of a 9-week-old baby girl and a 96-year-old disaster at sea.”
According to Titanic owners, on April 10, 1912, Dean boarded Titanic in third class with her parents and older brother. Her father, Bertram Dean, perished with the ship.
Millvina Dean was lowered into a lifeboat and rescued along with her mother and brother. The family of three arrived in New York City with only the clothes on their backs. They were soon greeted by New Yorkers who gave them a small wicker suitcase filled with donated clothing to help rebuild their lives.
On Oct. 18, the suitcase was auctioned to raise money to help pay Dean’s nursing home fees. The suitcase was bought for $18,790. By special arrangement with the new owner of the suitcase, Titanic Museum Attraction will have the suitcase on display in Branson for two months.
Inside the suitcase is a letter from Dean telling museum visitors about the suitcase.
The letter reads, “I am both the youngest and last remaining survivor from RMS Titanic. The suitcase belonged to my mother and was given to her in New York as we had lost all of our possessions when the Titanic went down. My parents, brother and I were emigrating to Kansas aboard RMS Titanic.
“My mother, brother and I were rescued from lifeboat No. 13. We spent time at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York and subsequently returned to England where the suitcase remained in my home until now.”
Titanic Museum owners reported they will contribute to paying the costs of Dean’s care at Woodland Ridge Nursing Home in Southampton, England, as an expression of thanks and appreciation.