Processing But Not Learning

Here’s a nutty irony at this stage in the development of AeroKnow Museum: For me to accomplish what needs to be done FIRST here — with a total number of volunteers recruited so far adding up to ONE and total number of volunteer hours contributed adding up to SIX — I’ve discovered that until we bring those volunteer numbers up, I don’t have to LEARN about aviation history as long as I PROCESS what waits for me “on the table,” so to speak. Learning is what YOU will do when you engage AeroKnow Museum by visiting and/or requesting information. I guarantee you that every minute I spend in the office, the Research Room (RR) and the Kits Room (KR) is spent not in leisure but in labor.

Can leisure be work? Of course it can. I wouldn’t be putting in every hour I can if I didn’t reap maximum satisfaction from the effort.

I am consoled in this process by Jack Roderick, a United AIrlines pilot I used to trade kits and postcards with decades ago, who told me a simple truth: “It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you carry between your ears as long as you know where to find what you need to know.” This is the benefit to you the reader, the follower,  of Abe Lincoln’s Air Force, the person to whom I hope to add the phrase the SUPPORTER of Abe Lincoln’s Air Force.

And even so, I still learn when I’m not on premises at the Museum. I’m reading Logging Hours, a book loaned by a friend. He dropped it by the office at the airport en route to a Flying 20 flying club meeting, but I took it home to read it. Not much on TV seduces hours away from me: Charlie Rose Show, Nova, Frontline, Need to Know, Washington Week, The News Hour — all PBS, of course. There is ample time to read between those shows until you factor in the hours I spend maintaining the website and corresponding which I must do at home for reasons I may explain later.

After enjoying and truly appreciating the hours contributed by our first volunteer, I’ve decided to look harder for volunteers who want to learn from their time at AeroKnow Museum. The first volunteer generously gave of her time, but based on conversations during that time and despite her initiative to help beyond the office, I don’t believe she carried away more knowledge of aviation than she carried in. With nothing to invest but an act of  friendship and about two hours a day on days weeks apart, I sensed no “anchor” at AeroKnow Museum. I want the Museum to be served by volunteers who will contribute regularly and even independently of my hours on site. Am I setting my sights too high? Time will tell.

Is she welcome when she can visit and volunteer as she volunteered before? Absolutely YES.

In the meantime, I cherish time I am given to develop the Museum solo. There’s a sign on the office door directing visitors upstairs when I am upstairs working in the KR and RR, and visitors not likely to follow the posted directiions to the upstairs rooms and engage me, are those unlikely to benefit from getting to know AeroKnow Museum from the get-g0.

As a result of hours spent solo there will be less risk of sub-par impressions made on those who visit before it’s really ready for “prime time” and ready to make the impression in the way I feel will maximize the impression, the memories and the support.

I don’t mind processing but not learning at AeroKnow Museum. When I need to know, the resources will be waiting for me . . . . as they wait for you.

CAVU and soft landings

About Job Conger

I am a freelance aviation, business and tourism writer, poet, songwriter. My journalism appears regularly in Springfield Business Journal and Illinois Times. I am author of Springfield Aviation from Arcadia Publishing and available everywhere. As founder/director of AeroKnow Museum (AKM) and a volunteer with American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS), I created this blog to share news about AKM activity and aviation history.
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