We’ve all lost luggage – or at least feared losing luggage – but did you ever wonder what happens to lost airline baggage (and its contents) that’s unclaimed? Some of it ends up at Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro, Ala., and now the one-of-a-kind store is showcasing 70+ of its most unique items in the Unclaimed Baggage Museum.
On April 21, 2023, Unclaimed Baggage – the nation’s only retailer of items airlines have been unable to reunite with their owners – will open the new in-store Unclaimed Baggage Museum, displaying more than 70 of the most curious and unusual items they’ve discovered in lost bags over their 50+ year history.
“People are endlessly curious about the variety and wonder of items discovered in unclaimed bags,” says Unclaimed Baggage CEO Bryan Owens. “And we’ve seen it all! Our store is like an archeological dig, with unclaimed treasures telling stories about people and culture over time and from all parts of the world.”
The oldest items on display in the Unclaimed Baggage Museum include ancient Egyptian artifacts from 1500 BC found in a Gucci suitcase. Most of the bag’s items were sold through Christie’s Auction House, but the remaining items are displayed along with replicas of the sold mummified hawk sarcophagus and funeral mask, made using 3D fabrication technology.
The most famous item on display is Hoggle, the dwarf animatronic puppet created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and a key character in David Bowie’s 1986 cult fantasy film “Labyrinth,” which has been restored to its original condition.
According to Unclaimed Baggage Co-Owner Sharon Owens, the museum’s display shows the inner workings of Hoggle’s motor rig, which was the most advanced puppetry technology of its time.
Other Unique Objects in the Unclaimed Baggage Museum Include:
- Musical instruments from around the world
- Suits of armor
- A detailed handmade model ship that measures over four feet wide
- A violin from 1772
- 1980s Hermes necklace
- A basketball signed by Michael Jordan
- African and Asian iron statues and plaques from antiquity
- Vintage items, including a 19th-century box camera, primitive hair tools that were heated on a wood stove, and a Victorian-era “flirting” fan.
“We discover fascinating items from lost-forever bags every day, but since we’re not museum archivists, we often have no idea of what we have,” Owens said. “In order to create this museum, we’ve drawn on the knowledge and expertise of museum specialists to help with the research, design and installation. It’s a work in progress, as we often discover new facts about the artifacts that we have. The continuous discovery is part of the fun!”
The Unclaimed Baggage Museum contains many interesting “oddities and wonders,” but perhaps the most interesting thing is that they were all found in unclaimed suitcases.
Unclaimed Baggage Museum Grand Opening
The Unclaimed Baggage Museum grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on April 21, 2023, at 11 a.m., and includes a presentation from experts on the history behind the unique treasures, followed by a cake cutting, special treats, and games. The celebration continues on April 22, 2023, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with food trucks, music, vendors, games, and guided tours of the Unclaimed Baggage Museum.
If a visit to Alabama isn’t in your future, click here to check out the treasures in the Unclaimed Baggage store online. You never know what you’ll find!