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Titanic artifact goes on display for the first time since 1912

by Susan and Simon Veness

Titanic first-class passenger, Isidor Straus, perished during the ship’s sinking, but his watch fob locket was retrieved and will go on display at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Titanic museum attraction pigeon forge
Photos courtesy of Titanic Museum Attraction Pigeon Forge

On April 5, 2022, Titanic Museum Attraction will unveil the charm-like embellishment, which was once attached to Straus’s watch fob chain, to a gathering of select members of the media, Straus’s great-great-grandson David Kurzman, and others, marking the first time the public will see it since 1912.

The locket is currently valued at $250,000, and will go on exclusive display at the museum after its grand reveal, joining the collection of other important artifacts from the tragedy.

Titanic museum watch fob locket
Photo by Henry Leutwyler/Contour by Getty Images

Kurzman will perform the unveiling, and will provide insight into how his relatives’ power and influence helped shape U.S. politics, as congressmen, ambassadors, administrators, international delegates, and philanthropists.

Isidor Straus and his brother Nathan were Jewish-German immigrants who became co-founders of Macy’s Department Store in 1985. Isidor was also a one-time member of Congress, and the first president of the Educational Alliance.

The artifact had been privately held, and now Pigeon Forge will be able to tell Straus’s tale in the presence of this emotionally charged piece.

“The locket was found tucked in the marketing mogul’s vest pocket when he was pulled, lifeless, from the sea,” said Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, COO and co-owner of the Titanic Museum Attractions in Pigeon Forge and Branson, Mo. “It has remained in the possession of Straus family descendants ever since, never to be seen by the public until now.”

Isidor and Ida Straus were, Kellogg-Joslyn says, inseparable in life and in death. Mrs. Straus had the opportunity to board a lifeboat as Titanic sank, but she refused to leave her husband, saying, “We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go.”

“To me, this beautiful RMS Titanic artifact is important because it was witness to one of maritime history’s greatest disasters, as well as one of its greatest love stories,” Kellogg-Joslyn added.

The Titanic Museum Attraction’s curator, Paul Burns, learned of the locket’s existence more than two decades ago.

“Paul has worked tirelessly since then to bring this artifact out of obscurity and into the view of thousands of Titanic Museum Attraction followers by it being on display at the ship,” Kellogg-Joslyn revealed.

Those who would like to view the watch fob locket must make a reservation online at TitanicAttraction.com, or by phoning 800-381-7670.

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