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Former nurse bids adieu to patients, tends to history

Susan McLane serving tea from a pot of the Victorian era. She’ll be presenting a program on the Titanic at the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa on Sunday, April 15.

Susan McLane serving tea from a pot of the Victorian era. She’ll be presenting a program on the Titanic at the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa on Sunday, April 15.

— McLane got interested in and ocean travel after she was contacted by costume designers in Hollywood who heard about her collection of dresses. She wound up sending many outfits and dresses to designers associated with the film “The Titanic.”

“I was contacted for some clothing for them to use in the movie which I’ve done for years. I sent out about 26 different outfits to the c ostumer that I worked with,” said McLane.

Unfortunately, her name does not appear in the movie credits. She does not recall exactly how much she earned for selling the goods, but indicated she made a profit.

“I don’t get to know what she’s (the costume designer) using until I go and see the film. So I had to go see the film to see what they used and what they did with the clothing. As I’m watching the film I’m thinking ‘This is really a Hollywood story. This really has not a lot to do with the truth of the Titanic disaster.’… As a historian I thought somebody had to do something about that. I made up my mind right then and there to create a program on ocean traveling in the 19th century,” she said.

She then started researching ocean travel in earnest and recalls “being disgusted” by the movie.

About six months after seeing the movie, she started presenting her findings and says that every time she does, she finds somebody in the audience has a personal connection to somebody who was on the vessel.

McLane won’t have to wait until her April 18 presentation to find that out. Anne Clothier, Brookside’s education director, has already connected the dots and is in the midst of researching the possibility that a South Corinth man named John Thompson may have been on the ill fated ship – and survived.

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