There are a few “now you see it, now you don’t” mysteries that continue to fascinate me to this day. Among them are socks that vanish in the washing machine, ghost ships like the Mary Celeste and lost luggage. Although I may never be able to explain missing tube socks or the Mary Celeste with certainty, I do know what happens to lost, unclaimed luggage. It often ends up on display, honored in sculpture or sold to savvy shoppers in Alabama. Here’s more:
Lost Luggage on Display
Over the years, pieces of lost, unclaimed luggage have ended up as part of museum displays. One of the largest displays of lost luggage that I have ever gazed upon can be found at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York City. It is comprised of the luggage brought to America by early immigrants. I was working as a motorcoach tour’s step-on guide at the time of my museum visit. I remember how moved I was the first time that I laid eyes on the luggage display. It was floor-to-ceiling in spots and seemed like it went on forever. All I could think about were the people that had left it all behind.
It isn’t the only lost luggage display in the world either. Luggage from the Titanic has also been on display at various locations throughout the world. Most of the baggage from the Titanic was recovered from the ocean bottom after its initial discovery. However, there was an early report of one Titanic survivor by the name of Samuel L. Goldenberg, who escaped with his life and his luggage. To my knowledge, Goldenberg’s carry-on bag was the only piece of luggage from the ship that wasn’t lost at sea.
Lost Luggage Sculptures
Lost luggage may be a bane to travelers but to some it is fodder for artistic creation. There is a large, outdoor sculpture dedicated to lost luggage in New York City. It is a large, circular structure designed to represent some of America’s early immigrants. There is another lost luggage sculpture in California. The California sculpture is located inside the Sacramento International Airport and consists of two, floor-to-ceiling towers made from actual lost luggage.
Lost Luggage for Sale
The Unclaimed Baggage Center has been in operation since the 1970s. Its mission is to sell, donate and otherwise make good use of lost, unclaimed luggage. The center purchases countless unclaimed bags from transportation providers of various sorts. Those items are then cleaned up, sorted and sold to savvy shoppers or donated to needy folks year round. Some of the more unusual items that have shown up at the center include a shrunken head, Egyptian artifacts and a suit of armor. Those interested in purchasing the lost and unclaimed items will need to make a trek to Scottsboro, Alabama. That’s where the store is located. It traditionally opens for business Monday through Saturday.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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