Report from the Research Room

It’s been too long since posting here. As I continue to beat my little drum to recruit volunteer help here at the WELCOME Room, I am busy upstairs during slow times when it’s too early or too late to expect visitors downstairs.

Airline Row in the Research Room

A few weeks ago, I determined that the Kits Room (KR) should have all the kits, and I moved all the overflow from the Research Room (RR)  to the KR. To accommodate the kits, I moved an ancient shelf unit from Upstairs Operations (UpsOps) to the KR. Today, not one kit remains in the RR though I moved several smaller kits to UpsOps shelving.  What may seem a lot of busywork for no significant net gain must be seen to better understand the point. They point is to lessen the clutter everywhere. To make room for the kits in UpsOps, I moved almost 40 models awaiting repair, restoration and finishing to the Storage Room (SR). This activity has been concurrent with the FINAL item on my “moving out to the airport” list, which I conceived almost two years ago. It is a task I consider flat NECESSARY before I begin spending more time with hands engaging plastic modeling in UpsOps and completing M A N Y projects in process therein.

From my mother's career at City Hall, the start of AeroKnow Museum.

When I was about 15 years old, I began spending as much money on rubber cement in a month as most 15 year-olds spend on rubber cement in three years of high school. Mom brought home discarded letterhead when things changed in her sector of City Hall, and I used the backside of it for saving clippings from magazines I was discarding because of their damaged covers and otherwise ragged condition.

Why rubber cement is a bad thing for archivists.

The effect of rubber cement is evident.  When I began the final phase of files arrangement, I began separating clips from these old pages. 99 percent of the rubber cement had dried over almost 50 years, and the clips literally slid off the old paper and into a box of loose scissorharvest. Eventually I am going to re-attach many thousands of clips to the backsides of new discarded paper from work and from friends. That is a backburner task that I am engaging during slow times at my employer.

Part of a $300 expenditure in 1975.

Over the past two weeks, I have begun to examine the contents of every file folder in the RR. The page above was part of a collection of 10 hand-bound volumes of clippings I purchased about 1975 from a historian in California. Spending $300 was extravagant for me — still is — but from his description in an aviation magazine classified advert, it seemed a wise move, and it was. The first thing I did was separate thousands of pages I wanted to keep from the binders and re-distribute them in the growing clippings collection file. As I examine the folders today, I recognize every three-ring-binder page like the one above and thank the gentleman whose name I have forgotten for selling those clips to me. When I find original photos like those he purchased from a commercial source in the late 40s or early 50s, I separate them from the rest of the clippings. These will become part of the photograph collection.

Damaged but not discarded.

Here are some that will stay with the files, even though they have been damaged by rubber cement. (I was a kid. What the heck did I know? Cheryl Pence and I would not meet for another 30 years. — inside joke, sorry) The clips above are in the “reprocess as time permits” storage box.

This clipping stays with the collection too.

I have learned that small pieces of paper become scrunched when new files are added, forcing the small clips to the bottom of the manila folders. Placing anything smaller than 3/4 of an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper onto that size of backside paper prevents scrunching.

A typical file in process.

I am slowly processing my way around the RR. On February 19 at 4:13, I had finished about 1 percent.

The Curtiss files in process.

Postcards are also departing the files for a separate destination.

Part of the air show souvenir programs collection that is international in scope.

Taking the place of the Monogram kits that decorated the tops of file cabinets on the east wall of the RR are local aviation history publications including copies of every Springfield Air Rendezvous air show souvenir program produced over its 24-year run. Also visible above is a memorable mention by State Journal-Register columnist Dave Bakke. Dave also wrote the first newspaper coverage of AKM’s relocation to the airport on June 18, 2010,   less than a month after I began moving in.

Destined for down the hall.

While arranging the files, I’m sometimes finding articles that were mis-filed. They might be a piece about management at American Airlines, history of a combat group, an article about an airport in West Virginia, all of which will be delivered to the Books & Miscellaneous Files Room at the end of the hall upstairs in due course.Activity at AeroKnow Museum is not a “whenever I don’t have something better to do” thing, or a “cloudy day only” thing, or a “when someone calls and wants to come see it” thing. It’s an every day, four to 12 hours at a stretch” thing. I hope you will make it your thing to0 by making it a “volunteer to help” thing.

May your days be CAVU and warm breezes.

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, Dave Bakke, Springfield, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Report from the Research Room

  1. Dave Vitry says:

    It’s looking good Job!
    Like so many other things in life it’s not always the destination that is great but the trip getting there.

    A quick note to all aviation enthusiast’s near Springfield, take atvantage of this great resource right in your own backyard. Get out and volenteer, belive me if 900 miles didn’t seperate myself from the museum I would be there every chance I got.

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