“You Have One or Two Years”

For three decades, visitors to the AeroKnow Museum at my home often said, “Man, what are you going to do when you have to MOVE all of this?  Since moving into our new home at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport,  more visitors than ever are asking, “Man, where is all of this going to go when you DIE?”

Here’s a nutty circumstance to consider. Here you are, four days after a thorough physical check-up by a respected physician you’ve known for years. You’ve just stepped out of your car and started toward the supermarket entrance when your doctor pulls up next to you and rolls down his window; says the words quoted in the headline above.

About two months ago,  those words were spoken by the gentleman who just over six years ago had invited me to move AeroKnow Museum (AKM) from my home to empty rooms at the airport. That invitation was the best thing that ever happened in my life while I was wearing socks!  In May, I contacted him, inviting him to walk across the parking lot when he had a few minutes to see the improvements I’d made since his last escorted tour. He responded that with his busy schedule, it was hard to set a day and time. He’d come over when he could, and if I was there, that would be great (words to that effect). I welcomed and dreaded the director’s dropping by. Why the dread? Earlier this year some engineers and toured the upstairs rooms, part of the process of making recommendations about the future of the building, which has served as home to FBOs and other businesses since it was completed in 1947. That visit confirmed that the process of replacing the structure was formally under way. The anticipated director’s visit would, surely, more clearly reveal the anticipated time line and perhaps present some options regarding the future of AeroKnow Museum at the airport. The words quoted in this post’s title came to me in the parking lot. He had just arrived as I was exiting the building to take a few pictures, so we conversed convivially and briefly as his vehicle idled, and he indicated he would visit sometime.

. . . . . . Since then I’ve thought long and anxiously about the future of AeroKnow Museum. From the looks on some faces I see regularly, I can almost read in their eyes and demeanor that they know more than I know. For now I am reasonably confident — given the obvious regard for the museum that led to its coming together out here, starting May 27, 2010 — that when it’s important for me to know more, I will be told more. It does not advance the mission of AKM for me to carry myself around here as though I am treading water in a turbid tide of cataclysmic dimension. So I don’t, and won’t.

Earlier this year while talking with one of the owners of the FBO which hosts AKM I mentioned the then-recent visit by the architectural engineers. He responded, explaining that plans to replace the building are in process, that there would be space for AKM, but there would be fewer square feet available.

As we ease into August, I am considering the future of AeroKnow Museum, approaching my 69th birthday in early September, in excellent health and physical condition, grateful for every hour I spend at my favorite airport. Given the support demonstrated by the aviation community and general public in central Illinois, I must confess that a smaller museum would certainly benefit yours truly, Job Conger.

The president of another local aviation history group which I have served as a board member for the past three years has offered AeroKnow Museum a deal. If  I will write a certified letter promising to declare, in a revised “last will and testament,” that when I die, AKM will be donated to this group, they will try to provide some volunteer help for AKM by arranging with a local college for students to help in return for “work-study credit.” As board members of said organization, not one of them is willing to lift a finger to help, though I have helped them as time permitted over the years. . . . . . . . . I declined the offer because of reasons I may explain later via this blog.

As a not-for-profit corporation — 501 (c) 3 — AKM must transfer assets to other organizations of the same kind.  If there are PRINCIPALS (officers, board members, curators) of other aviation history organizations interested in acquiring some of our resources, respond via email  akm@eosinc.com because later may be too late.

Thanks for reading this post and for your support of AeroKnow Museum.

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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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