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Giving Back with Branson's Titanic Museum Attraction

Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson makes giving part of their business model by partnering with a nonprofit that provides shoes to kids in need.

By Juliana Goodwin

Nov 2023

Titanic Museum and Boys and Girls Club of Branson
Photo courtesy Titanic MuseumTitanic Museum’s owner Mary Kellogg-Joslyn and her Titanic crew visit with kids from Boys & Girls Club of Branson, Missouri.

When kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Branson filed in, there were radiant smiles, surprised faces and lots of high-fives.

As they shuffled past crew from the Titanic Museum Attraction—who were in costume and lined up in front of rows of new shoes—there was awe in the children’s eyes and some mouths were agape.

Mary Kellogg-Joslyn and her husband, John Joslyn, own Titanic Museum Attractions in Branson and in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. They have made a two-year commitment to Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit that provides shoes to children all over the world and nation. In the first five months, Titanic Museum Attraction donated 2,000 pairs of shoes and were just getting started.

Kellogg-Joslyn explained how this project came about; it was several years in the making. “Every year we pay tribute to a different segment of passengers on the ship. We decided to pay tribute to the 135 children on the Titanic,” she says.

Of those children, some who perished and some who survived, there are two pairs of shoes in existence. One belonged to 4-year old Louise Kink, a third-class passenger who survived and went on to have a daughter.

The museum acquired Louise Kink’s shoes and invited her daughter, Joan Randell, to come to Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson see them on display. Titanic exhibits are planned years in advance because it takes a lot of time to track down and acquire items. 

“As we were developing this out, I kept saying ‘shoes for kids.’ There must be an organization that we can partner with to pay tribute today for those children,” she says.

After some research, they found Samaritan’s Feet, which was founded by Manny Ohonme, who grew up in Nigeria and didn’t get his first pair of shoes until he was 9. “We felt it aligned with our company’s mission and passion for children,” Kellogg-Joslyn says.

This year, Samaritan’s Feet has a goal of reaching the 10 million mark in terms of shoe donations, and Kellogg-Joslyn plans to help the nonprofit reach that goal.

All the money donated comes from the Titanic attractions and sponsors. Staff are not asked to contribute but they are involved in the process of giving.

Kellogg-Joslyn brought in the founder of Samaritan’s Feet, who spoke to Titanic staff. Mary also purchased his book for each of their 250 crew members.

“One of our crew members is 19 and she came up to Manny Ohonme and said, ‘When I was 12, I got my first pair of shoes.’ What are the chances? It was incredible,” she says.

Mary Kellogg-Joslyn and John Joslyn have donated shoes in Missouri and Tennessee, where their museums are located. They have supported Boys & Girls Clubs in Branson since 2006 when they opened Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson. They prefer not to discuss how much they donate or how much this project costs, saying they will do what it takes to meet their commitment because children’s charities are close to their hearts.

This fall, they will gift shoes to three Boys & Girls Clubs in Springfield. Next year, they plan to continue to donate to children in the Branson area but also added Hannibal, Missouri, and Harrison, Arkansas, to their distribution plans.

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