- (Photo: REUTERS/Christie's/File)
The Bible that survived the sinking of the infamous Titanic ship in 1912 will now be on display at a museum in East Tennessee for the remainder of 2014.
The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. dedicated their new religious display on Thursday, the National Day of Prayer. The Bible originally belonged to the Rev. Robert J. Bateman of Bristol, U.K., who was traveling to the U.S. with his sister-in-law, Ada Ball, on the RMS Titanic, a British passenger liner that infamously sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912, after it struck an iceberg.
Bob Thone, the actor portraying the Rev. Robert J. Bateman at the interactive Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, explained to the local WBIR-TV station of how the Bible ties into the East Tennessee community.
"Bateman on the night the ship sank handed the Bible over to his sister-in-law, Ada Ball, who he placed on a life boat and then she returned it to her sister, his wife, Emily. On her death bed she gave it to Dr. Harry Upperman from the Baxter Seminary here in Baxter, Tennessee," Thone said.
The Rev. Bateman had reportedly lived in the U.S. for a short time before his fateful voyage on the Titanic. The pastor founded the People's Tabernacle Church in Knoxville in the 1890's, and then moved to Florida. He took the Titanic after visiting his hometown in England for a few months.
John Joslyn, owner of Titanic Museum, told WVLT-TV that it's a "privilege" for his museum to get to carry the historic Bible. "[…] he helped his sister in law get off board to a life boat that night and he handed her the Bible so it got saved. Here we are 102 years later and we're able to display this Bible, it's a privilege for us."
Along with its Pigeon Forge location, the Titanic Museum also has a second location in Branson, Missouri. The Pigeon Forge location consists of a large building shaped and painted like the Titanic and containing over 400 personal and private artifacts on display. The museum boasts an interactive experience where visitors can meet actors playing the roles of Titanic passengers, as well as "touch a real iceberg, walk the Grand Staircase and third class hallways, reach their hands into 28-degree water, and try to stand on the sloping decks."