AeroKnow Museum Meets Springfield Airport Authority

If the monthly gathering were “municipal government,” my addressing the body would be called “Museum Director Speaks to Mayor and City Council.” It was a night for recently shined shoes and centering the tie before walking across the parking lot to the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport Terminal where the august assemblage were gathering for business. I arrived with an arm full of photos and documents to share, like 4th grade “show and tell” but with groomed hair. The plan had been to arrive at 4:45, but an enthusiastic visitor to the AeroKnow Museum office who had lots of time before his passengers returned to the Cessna Citation CJ3. He was a challenge because I didn’t want to cut him short, but I also wanted to be on time for the SAA meeting. I literally jogged across the parking lot in sport coat and tie because I believed (ya gotta believe) the 40 seconds thus shaved from a walk would make a difference. I think they did.

Airport Executive Director Mark Hanna had visited my home in 2010, proven a major affirmation for my effort and made things happen, including my presentation in late October. Over the past 17 months he visited the Museum for update tours at least four times. He recognized me as I approached the Howard Clayton Knotts Room where the SAA board was arriving at 4:55, and directed me to a  comfortable chair close to the commissioners’ table before the call to order. Between arrival and call, Mark introduced me to the commissioners who had arrived, and I distributed the color brochure I usually give only to those who, at least, visit the downstairs Museum office.

After some reports from commission committee chairpersons, Director Hanna introduced me.

I thanked everyone for the opportunity to tell them what is happening closer than three minutes (two minutes if your shoes are shined) from where the ongoing meeting was taking place. By way of introduction, I showed a large picture of me as a two-year-old sitting with a puppy underneath a family friend’s Cessna 140.

AeroKnow Museum founder Job Conger (right) and furry friend savoring the shade under family friend Bill van Meter's Cessna 140 about 1949. (photo by Job C. Conger, III)

The point I wanted to make is that aviation has been a part of my life a long time. I then showed a picture of SPI taken by my friend Hayden Hamilton while flying over en route from Chicago to Phoenix in a Southwest Airlines 737. He said in his e that came with the photo that he was less then ten minutes from the Museum, and he was sorry he could not “drop in for a visit.” The point in sharing that is to show the Museum is blessed with friends beyond the tall-tassled world of Springfield, Illinois.

Instead of bringing samples a plenty of AeroKnow Museum resources, I stressed the connection to Springfield aviation history. Mark Hanna has purchased and distributed copies of my Arcadia Publishing book Springfield Aviation to SAA commissioners. I explained there are files of newspaper clippings, by year but far from inclusive, pertaining to Springfield and all Illinois communities. Data (mostly articles clipped from magazines and newspapers but including airline timetables, souvenirs, news releases and more), intact magazines dating back to 1910, model kits from the early 1930s to today and about 40,000 photographs and 35 mm slides about all non-engineering aspects of human flight worldwide are also included in the collection.

I explained that the most pressing need at this time is for professionals who want to volunteer to manage the finances and be a part of a Floursheims-on-the- ground board and to volunteer in the downstairs office while I work upstairs. The best way to understand what’s happening a mere two-minute walk from the terminal is to VISIT, and I said my door is open anytime I am there.

The last thing I wanted to do is bore the commissioners, so I concluded my presentation after fewer than 15 minutes. I thanked them for permitting me the introduction, then returned to the AeroKnow Museum and worked until 8:30.

I imagined at least a few of them would swing across the parking lot for a l00k-see, after the meeting but none did. I was surprised. Maybe their meeting continued beyond 8:30. There’s been no communication with any of the commissioners in the 12 days since. And that’s okay. They have their priorities.

I have mine.

Share the vision!

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.
This entry was posted in aviation, Illinois, Springfield, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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