The future of Museums

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Time and time again actual aircraft and equipment as well as detailed original models of them are lost as museums and collections are dissolved.
Coupled with the "politicisation" of the past in the minds of younger people could we be seeing a long term trend to replace real objects with "virtual experiences".
In a world where many people treat "The Crown" as real life documentary what will be the future of Museums?
 

Calum Douglas

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I dont know, but it is a tricky one to answer, as SOME museums/collections have, to be frank, been "asking for it" for years.

So I have to say I can see both sides of this. The general rule of thumb seems to be the smaller it is, the more genine, and the bigger the less so (there are exceptions).

Without writing out TOO much of essay on "whats wrong with them", to concentrate on what might HAPPEN, I would say the following is probable. I can only say this with some confidence on UK based museums (not because I think they`re different elsewhere, just that I dont KNOW enough about them to be sure).

1) For years there has been dumbing down and politicisation to "get kids involved" and pander to various fashionable viewpoints -
their journey towards irrelevance as serious historical institutions is in its final stages, I would say.

2) Covid has probably irrecoverably damaged many, due to obvious restrictions on visitors.

3) Old planes are getting more and more expensive to run, there are less and less people (by which I mean young people) able to work on them, and health and safety regs only get tighter. I`m certain that in the UK, it will be impossible for anyone other than the
BBMF (or similar) to fly at displays within 15years.

4) Archive access is being either restrictred, eliminated or monetised.

1)
----
I think they will probably mostly close, and the planes etc will be sold off to collectors.

A few very large ones will remain, but access to the planes and archives will be very heavily monetised, and
restricted. The museums will perhaps try to almost eliminate archive access by the public, in order to concentrate on
expensive and exclusive licence contracts with TV companies for documentaries, and maybe a few very big
name writers.

Serious research will become almost entirely about making contacts in private collections/ebay finds and
so on.

Tickets to visit their planes will be very expensive, like football season tickets. But as all the smaller museums will have closed, people interested will have no choice

---
2)
There is an alternative future in which they will digitise their archives and sell a licence (at a reasonable fee) to researchers to make unlimited searches, and catalogue their records online and therefore make a LOT of money from selling archive rights but
not in a way that excludes the public.

They might also hire techically literate and interesting media-savvy presenters, and start their own YouTube channels
properly cataloguing restorations, flights, old parts salvage, digs, or maybe hire existing capable youtubers
to promote their wares.

In that future digitisation would help preserve the records, and young people would be drawn in through social media
videos and YouTube.

Personally I do not think 90% of museums have anyone on their payroll either interested in, or capable of actioning #2


The diabolically shameful actions of two major UK museums/archives in recent years are sad testimony to this.

In terms of archives I think all that can be done, is for private individuals to form "clubs" or groups whatever you want to call it, and pool their archive collections. For planes, I dont know.. they`re not digitisable (well, not REALLY), or distributable.
 
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edwest2

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I think that instead of thinking in the abstract that solid planning, review and preparation for actual action should begin now.

Prior to the internet, the museum was where you went for various reasons. In the U.S., various groups and foundations exist that have been donating monies for years. Recently, two very vague and misleading words/terms have appeared: The Internet of Things and The Metaverse. The goal is to shift as much information, and entertainment, online as quickly as possible. Luftwaffe researchers are seeing the results of Russian researchers digitizing captured documents and making them available. However, unless dedicated, highly indexed and cross-referenced sites come into existence to let people know, a lot can, and does, slip through the cracks. I can't say how many 'stumble upon' documents and sites I've found. Some type of group needs to form to collect the various sites together under appropriate headings. I am angry about the stupid use of words as site names. One is fold3. Quick, what does it contain? joebaugher.com?

I think there are people who are personally and professionally very interested in the preservation of knowledge and artifacts. Just contact them. Let them know what the plans are and ask for their input. People dealing directly with people to talk about the future of museums, and how to promote that, must start now.
 

Orionblamblam

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The goal is to shift as much information, and entertainment, online as quickly as possible.
Such a transition would be useful. It would be useful to researchers as it would allow more convenient research. And it would be useful to those wishing to re-write history, as digital archives can be pruned, censored, tweaked, adjusted, memory-holed, faked, deep-faked, photoshopped.

It will not be long before history ends, because nobody can trust *anything* anymore. Only museums and archive sthat hold tangible material, and very difficult to fake artifacts could be trusted. And if they tell stories that are now politically inconveneint... well, it's a darn shame about that fire last night at the museum. What fire? I didn't see anything on the State News, and Google Maps shows only an empty field where you said there was a museum...
 

edwest2

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Fear is not the way forward. I agree that actual, physical artifacts and documents need to exist. They need to be accessed by qualified people and researchers who are willing to put in the time. For World War II, some documents exist only on microfilm but other physical, paper documents exist. I am sure that if the urgency of the situation is presented correctly, that those with existing knowledge of museums and archives would step forward.

Some history books take ten or twenty years to write. Researchers who have published their books in the last few years have said as much. And why do they do it? "For the posterity." So that their sons and daughters, and anyone else, can know what really happened. The truth must be preserved.

I am also quite sure that others are clearly aware of attempts to falsify or eliminate various parts of history, but doing this dates to far before the internet.
 

Orionblamblam

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Some history books take ten or twenty years to write.

And yet, fake history books can be banged out in months to weeks, websites spouting nonsense in days, and hoaxes tweeted out in minutes. As Albus Dumbledore said in The Hobbit, "A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes."

The movement to destroy statues and erase and re-write history in favor of counter-factual political narratives will sooner or later descend upon aviation museums in force. The Imperial War Museum? Holy frijoles, you can see the protests based on just the name alone.
 

publiusr

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Elon says he wants to be an influencer.
He can start by funding historians like you and others here.

There are lots of individuals who want to keep space/aviation alive who are in crushing poverty because they aren’t jocks or musicians, or glad handing salesmen.
 

Hood

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I think Calum makes some excellent points, perhaps a bit too pessimistic but things do generally seem to be a terminal decline.

For years there has been dumbing down and politicisation to "get kids involved" and pander to various fashionable viewpoints -
Coupled with the "politicisation" of the past in the minds of younger people could we be seeing a long term trend to replace real objects with "virtual experiences".
Child friendly displays have been with us for many years, I remember the FAA Museum at Yeovilton installed a 'hands-on' display of how aircraft fly and design features back in the late 1990s and I was quite impressed with its quality (explaining how fabric coverings alter when doped etc.). Cosford has a similar thing (tucked behind the Bristol 188 ironically...) that has more of a fairground toy effect than being seriously educational, the Tank Museum at Bovington has a series of really good features for kids too. Hendon has some nice touches, the WW1 hangar showing how wooden propellers were made is interesting for grown ups too!
And actually when you think about it children probably make up a large slice of visitors, whenever I go to Hendon I'm struck how many mothers are idly wheeling prams or walking small kids as a free place to roam about (maybe aircraft will seep into their subconscious?). I don't think I have ever been to any larger museum in the UK on a weekday without getting tangled up in a school trip.
But good displays can seperate the 'kid' and 'adult' content but I don't think it should dumb down. The obession with 'hands on' is also worrying, this is the list of Hangar 1 'hands on' stuff at Hendon:
  • Try on an RAF uniform
  • Sensory areas include tactile models of aircraft and other objects, iconic RAF smells and sounds
  • Could you have been a Women’s Royal Air Force Plotter? Set plots on an interactive Second World War operations room table
  • Explore Sir Frank Whittle’s innovative Power Jets engine on an interactive screen
  • Test yourself: test your reaction timing; test your multi-tasking skills; work together on an engineering challenge
  • Learn how to fly a Gnat in a simulator
  • Take the pilot’s seat in our Simulator Zone (£)
  • Fix a Sea King (under 5s experience): refuel, fix bolts and turn propellers
  • Sit in a miniature plane (under 5s experience): DH9A, Spitfire, Gnat and Sea King.
Erm, cool any chance of seeing any aircraft? There are just 5 in this 'hangar' (DH.9A, Spitfire and Gnat hanging up, Sea King on the floor and the Sunderland all on its own and that bloody plastic F-35....)

Saying that, how many people truly care about what is being displayed? About 20 years ago I was struck by how many families saw Duxford as an (expensive) picnic location with no interest in the aircraft at all. How many people wander aimlessly in front of the Elgin Marbles or a Lancaster for a selfie opportunity? You can usually tell the die-hard nerds, they roam about draped in camera equipment and start peering up access hatches but they usually stand out because they are so rare!

2) Covid has probably irrecoverably damaged many, due to obvious restrictions on visitors.
This will go away with time but I do think that pre-booking may come to stay as a way to manage parking and resources.
But saying that, my 'local' air museum (Solway Aviation Museum, Carlisle) used those 18 months to really revamp the whole site and repaint all the aircraft to really give the place a huge boost.

3) Old planes are getting more and more expensive to run, there are less and less people (by which I mean young people) able to work on them, and health and safety regs only get tighter. I`m certain that in the UK, it will be impossible for anyone other than the
BBMF (or similar) to fly at displays within 15years.
That is very pessimistic. There seems to be more young blood in the restoration industry than we often give credit for. Yes I think the sector will shrink and deep pockets will be needed.
I would say privately-owned jet displays will soon be extinct, already they have dropped off (even before Shoreham), there are just too many pitfalls and technical challenges with parts and expertise and fuel costs.
My greatest worry actually is SSAC flights - the temptation to make every new warbird project a two-seater cash cow is getting greater, even stock Spits are being altered to 2-seaters. If SSAC spreads to larger types it might spread the load but then some idiot is bound to get hold of B-25 or something and cut a load of windows into it. Yes its keeping planes flying, pilots current, injecting cash and keeping the engineering side ticking along but in 20 years they might be the only players in the market with fleets of 50-60 2-seat warbirds and everything else seen as unprofitable museum pieces.

I think they will probably mostly close, and the planes etc will be sold off to collectors.
Personally I do not think 90% of museums have anyone on their payroll either interested in, or capable of actioning #2

The diabolically shameful actions of two major UK museums/archives in recent years are sad testimony to this.

In terms of archives I think all that can be done, is for private individuals to form "clubs" or groups whatever you want to call it, and pool their archive collections. For planes, I dont know.. they`re not digitisable (well, not REALLY), or distributable.
I think this is a big danger. Firstly a lot of the expertise in archives are volunteers who often worked at the companies whose artefacts are in the archives. These guys are aging, when they go then their expertise and insight goes and so does the drive to keep the archives open. Companies don't really want to keep old paper laying around from predecessor companies and for museums they have tons of stuff already (last year's TV series at Brooklands comes to mind, the upper level of the Clubhouse being boxes and boxes of unopened stuff), more stuff than they know what do with.

Digitisation takes time and money, most archives are still cataloguing and making sense of what they have, let alone having the time to set up online file stores and start scanning thousands of documents. Plus who knows what file types might still be accessible in 20 years time? How do you safely backup all that material for long periods of time?
The Aviation and Aerospace Archives Initiative is a welcome boost but its a massive task and whether it can make any real impact is open to question. But its good that thought is going into this area now before it gets too critically late.
Air Britain is attempting to look at ways to increase access to its archive of material but seem moribund as membership declines and efforts to attract new (younger) members seem fruitless.

I would add another factor. The heritage industry is an industry, a career pathway. A lot of curators and managers are curators and managers, whether its a museum of teapots, aircraft or diecast toys. There does seem to be a lack of empathy or deep understanding of the collections they are looking after.
So we end up with grand projects, stuff like Hendon's Hangar 1 full of small artefacts and low lighting which has tons of open space. Then we get into "relevance" and "atmosphere" so that perfectly good stuff is disposed of, owners of aircraft have been suggested to "leave" IWM Duxford and seek hangarage elsewhere if their aircraft don't 'fit' the narrow WW2 warbird ethos, even Flying Legends was deemed not relevant enough!

And then we have the government poking its nose in and threatening publicly-funded museums in its odd "culture war" if they do anything that might be considered too 'woke' (money spent on hands-on kid's exhibits for 5-year olds = good, money spent on surveys of how many National Trust properties were owned by slave owners = bad)

Thankfully smaller museums are just getting on with the job in hand and free of consultants and 'heritage' experts they do the best with what resources they have on hand.

The Imperial War Museum? Holy frijoles, you can see the protests based on just the name alone.
Oddly enough it doesn't seem to be a problem (so far), its probably the only public institution that has gotten away with using the Imperial tag. Presumably it hopes nobody will try to figure out what IWM stands for?
 

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There is a [potential] solution to all of this. Those of us who are parents - take your children to see aeroplanes; simple as that. Pass on the interest.

Give the museums the footfall (£££) AND feedback (don't like an exhibit? Tell them you don't and why) .

Also, buy something from the shop - maybe that book is £1 cheaper on Amazon but dear old Bezzers isn't going to pay for the leak in Hangar3's roof, now is he..?

Or am I being too positive? Maybe but that's me.
 

UpForce

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Time and time again actual aircraft and equipment as well as detailed original models of them are lost as museums and collections are dissolved.
Coupled with the "politicisation" of the past in the minds of younger people could we be seeing a long term trend to replace real objects with "virtual experiences".
In a world where many people treat "The Crown" as real life documentary what will be the future of Museums?

This is a strange discussion for me.

In a certain sense I feel I should say, state, or present something but the themes, the understanding of museums exhibited here seems very alien in my personal context. I'll give it a tangential try. These institutions and organizations obviously exist in the tension of time; the contemporary zeitgeist in general seems to include a sense of an unraveling or fragmenting reality - or at least professing an experience thereof, e.g. as a matter of forming particular group identities, though I feel it's become almost as common and anodyne a theme (or a meme?) as exchanging platitudes about the weather.

My situational awareness may not be complete but this phenomenon, whatever tinge one wishes to put on it, seems to be extended on museums here. While the overall reaction seems to be unease, or a loss of some kind, this just seems an ill fitting perspective here. A static museum is a useless museum and I don't mean this in a vacuous "change for change's own sake" manner, either. A museum is not there for us to feel comfortable with history, historians are not the keepers of holy relics (but in a secular sense) nor the enforcers of some established dogma (even if inevitably some will reduce this into beliefs calling tenets black which I guess is a neat-ish way to dodge the larger issue and hold firm in one's position and social frame).

We all have our histories and wider senses thereof; coming back around to the fragmentation, unraveling of reality our contemporary public selves are more exposed these days than ever before, literally mined for wealth. We are therefore pressed, mangled and forcibly reproduced into superficially coherent wholes, whereas to be human is to be conflicted and self-contradictory - something that previously was largely shielded and out-of-view. Our personal reactive capabilities and adaptive processes thus hampered by constant, highly unequal exposure these processes become externalized and positions - and dare I say histories - petrified. It is of course a stereotypical - even archetypal - function (if being perennially unchanged can be described as "functioning") of museums to preserve things, perhaps thus bringing our contemporary societal challenges into a sharper relief.

Airplanes can't be preserved indefinitely before eventually rebuilt out of whole cloth (perhaps with a generous helping of dope). That is one approach, of course. If resources and time are lacking it is just as well for me that museums should also portray the decay of the artifacts of our history as history in and of itself an unvarnished manner. Having stated this I'm sure it comes as a great relief for some that I'm not presently nor will I probably be managing any significant collections ...
 

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A word of caution to those that are so quick to erase history. Once it is erased
it is lost forever. Those that do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.
Political correctness is a cancer that may consume us all.
 

edwest2

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Boy oh boy, what nonsense. Are some here paralyzed? Unable to consider the good that can be done? Use your imagination. Figure things out. There are very dedicated researchers and published authors out there. Calum is one of them.

Or is this a case of 'let someone else do it'?

I have spoken to eyewitnesses to World War II history. Lost forever? Hardly. I know private archives and private photo collections exist.
 

Orionblamblam

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Boy oh boy, what nonsense. Are some here paralyzed? Unable to consider the good that can be done? Use your imagination.

What good is an imagination if you only use it for optimism? There are dark forces afoot in the world, everything from weather to rust to budget cuts to enemy action to people who want to erase history and replace it with fantasy. It is folly to ignore them. It is best to plan for the worst.

> Lost forever? Hardly. I know private archives and private photo collections exist.

Yeah, and so did "Uncle Hugo's." Look how *that* turned out.
 

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One of the main reasons i had to visit the local museum was to see one of the two Avro Lincolns we have, sadly that aircraft had a pretty rough life, being out in the open for...what almost 40/50 years?

I stumbled across a group of people, all working "Ad honorem", in efforts to restore the aircraft (they came to my attention when they restored an AT-11 with amazing results) to date they were made known when they got the engines of the Lincoln and its rear turret restored. Might not be a huge deal for some, but there are only 4 Lincolns remaining, 2 of them rest here, so keeping it in good shape is a necessity (Specially knowing its exposed to the elements).

Ill agree that certain aspects of museums need to change regarding how to attract public, aka make themselves more interesting to the eyes of younger generations, something that might not be easy, but with time and effort will surely help.

Sadly with a lot of stuff, money is the major handicap, there were cases where the museums got themselves unique units (B-10/martin 139 for the US, or the Lancaster turrets for the Uk) out of schools/old military depots, or others where the whole thing fell apart (like the TON minesweepers or the preservation of HMS Plymouth, etc)
 

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publiusr

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Museums get it from both sides of the spectrum: libertarian/conservatives want to cut funding, and Greens and such would love to shutter or corrupt them. Between new spacers who would kill Marshall, and Greens who would shutter coal mines…half the jobs in my state would be under threat. Ideological zealots war…but the comman man loses to them both.

Now, the Southern Museum of Flight is one good example of a museum properly supported..relocated not far from Barbers Motor Sports museum in Leeds/Moody Alabama.
 

Orionblamblam

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new spacers who would kill Marshall,
I don't know that many new Spacers would want to shutter MSFC or *any* NASA facility. Just get them doing what they're supposed to be doing: developing new technologies that industry can't or won't, in order to *support* US industry. Get NASA and MSFC out of the business of directing launch vehicle (or any vehicle) design. Make NASA the X-Vehicle organization again.
 

Calum Douglas

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new spacers who would kill Marshall,
I don't know that many new Spacers would want to shutter MSFC or *any* NASA facility. Just get them doing what they're supposed to be doing: developing new technologies that industry can't or won't, in order to *support* US industry. Get NASA and MSFC out of the business of directing launch vehicle (or any vehicle) design. Make NASA the X-Vehicle organization again.
Sorry to derail the nasa talk, but as an aside the nasa ntrs archives are a great example of how it should be done

I mooted an idea with a few people to get a server built and stick it on subscribers access only and put all our archive material on it. If about ten people I know contributed their collection of documents it would be a collection to rival that of some small museums already

I think people (us) need to take action and not just sit and bemoan the state of things (after having first bemoaned for a while too, as a good moan is therapeutic )

There are serious issues to overcome there too, which authors want to give away their source material for “the common good”?

I’m not even THAT sure I do

So perhaps making the server public acccess is a step too far but maybe making it accessible to anybody who contributed their own collection to it might work.

Right now I couldn’t research another new book anyway, three of the major archives I used are either “closed” or have such insane access policies since “the thing happened in China “ that I actually can’t get material. Personally I do not think these places will open again, it was just the perfect excuse to shut awkward departments they wanted the get rid of anyway.

I’m being hardline pessimist here, but I think unless the small guys club together and start doing it on our own, we’re stuffed

My collection in digital form is about 200,000 pages (cheating slightly as one single file is 80,000of that) that’s a pretty good start isn’t it?
 
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overscan (PaulMM)

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@Calum Douglas such an undertaking, especially if paid access, would potentially open you to legal action.

Such sharing of resources would be better done in secret rather than publicly. First rule of Archive Club is don't talk about Archive Club.

For example, The UK National Archives allows researchers who visit to make copies of documents for personal use. Publication of an entire document or sections thereof online is probably infringing on their terms, but done in small amounts on sites like this generally flies under the radar, and is not being monetized, so they care less.

Publication of a photo in a magazine or book requires a license. Hosting copies of such documents on a subscription based site would prevent them potentially earning revenues for making copies of the document, and I can see it causing legal problems for the hoster.

The most legal method I can think of would be to create a site that simply indexes what each researcher possesses, and allows the individuals concerned to contact each other and arrange for access offline. The Bittorrent site defence ("we are just indexing, not sharing"). Even there, some researchers may possess material that they don't have a legal right to possess (e.g. reports retrieved by dumpster-diving or purchased off Ebay with classification marks intact) and disclosing this publicly could put them in hot water. Making it private might help, but you'd need to be very careful who is admitted to the site and I think most researchers would be reluctant to share.

This brings us to the present method. Authors, researchers and collectors 'in the know' generally know each other areas of interest and contact each other when writing a book, looking for information.

It isn't perfect, but I can't see an easy solution.
 
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Calum Douglas

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@Calum Douglas such an undertaking, especially if paid access, would potentially open you to legal action.

Such sharing of resources would be better done in secret rather than publicly. First rule of Archive Club is don't talk about Archive Club.

For example, The UK National Archives allows researchers who visit to make copies of documents for personal use. Publication of an entire document or sections thereof online is probably infringing on their terms, but done in small amounts on sites like this generally flies under the radar, and is not being monetized, so they care less.

Publication of a photo in a magazine or book requires a license. Hosting copies of such documents on a subscription based site would prevent them potentially earning revenues for making copies of the document, and I can see it causing legal problems for the hoster.

The most legal method I can think of would be to create a site that simply indexes what each researcher possesses, and allows the individuals concerned to contact each other and arrange for access offline. The Bittorrent site defence ("we are just indexing, not sharing"). Even there, some researchers may possess material that they don't have a legal right to possess (e.g. reports retrieved by dumpster-diving or purchased off Ebay with classification marks intact) and disclosing this publicly could put them in hot water. Making it private might help, but you'd need to be very careful who is admitted to the site and I think most researchers would be reluctant to share.

This brings us to the present method. Authors, researchers and collectors 'in the know' generally know each other areas of interest and contact each other when writing a book, looking for information.

It isn't perfect, but I can't see an easy solution.
This certainly helps, but its weakness is that it does not preserve the info, as if someone gets sick, or has an IT crash (they probably dont have backups) its all gone.

I think it might be possible to work around the legality by simply charging for maintenance of the server, not selling the documents. So the money is merely to maintain the storage system. However, I dont particularly want a 10 year court battle to argue the point (although I think Kew`s argument there is a legal non-starter, unless you have used their duplication service, or start selling the pdf`s that they have).

An online repository of "who-has-what" certainly looks like a very good initial step forward.
 

edwest2

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For the legal issues, I would contact a good copyright attorney.

On the "who has what" side. Already there are archive only sites like the Luftwaffe Experten Message Board. My original log-in still works but for those hearing about it now, I don't think there is a way in. On the mostly positive side, there are a number of useful sites out there but unlike the Yellow Pages, you'd be hard pressed to find them since they have stupid and nonsensical names. Even Luftwaffe Experten is not something I'd dream up.

My suggestion is to create a directory of legitimate and vetted sites. The format would be:

Site name. Free access or paid. Description of contents. Examples: Good coverage of German wartime radars, or has info about the fates of American aircraft arranged by tail code, or has scans of original Missing Air Crew Reports (MACR), and so on.

For myself, I'm not in a position of confidential trust with anyone on the internet. On those occasions where I can help I post links in public view, or, and this is rare, send a private message.

As I understand it, there are separate hard drives that can be attached for downloading your files.
 
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riggerrob

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Interest in historical vehicle sis being driven by on-line, single-person shooter games like Gears of War and Tour of Duty.
To that end, World of Tanks sponsors a serious historian in the form of Major NIcholas Moran, U.S. Army Reserve to broadcast detailed videos on various historical tanks.
Similarly, Ian MacCollum broadcasts videos of obscure firearms on his www.forgottenweapons.com channel on youtube. Ian often reviews rare machineguns, etc. that are coming up for sale at major auction houses (e.g Morphy's). Ian also visits firearms factories, museums and private collections. Ian has such a strong following that he often reviews obscure firearms - from private collections - that the public will never have access to.
My pet peeve is trying to research obscure airplanes on the web. Too many sellers' websites promptly respond with "No $#@! we have airplane XYZ in stock" when I already know that the lone prototype crashed and burned in year WXYZ and the company promptly went bankrupt, so ZERO examples remain.
 

riggerrob

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Geneological research can also spark curiosity among younger museum visitors. Several Canadian secondary schools have history classes that encourage students to research their family history. Geneological research can be especially poinient near Armistice Day (11 November) when they research the military careers of relatives who defended Canada during the various wars. For example, a few years back I was researching some of my ancestors who served in RCAF Bomber Command during World War 2. The librarian at Rockcliffe cheerfully helped me research their squadrons, missions, etc.
Doubly valuable was finding the pilot's logbooks of another ancestor who had served in the RCAF. A cousin had donated his uncle's pilot logbooks to Rockcliffe. Skimming through those logbooks quickly filled in many blanks about our ancestor's career in the RCAF.
 

kaiserd

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The real threat to such museums and archives is not the largely false bogey man of “political correctness” or politicisation but a combination of the increasing indifference (or perhaps more a case of more selective limited interest) of the general public as older generations exit screen-left (and newer generations just aren’t going to have the same connection to and level of interest in historic aviation) and as governments everywhere of various stripes are (for various reasons) less willing to spend money in this area apart from on a few bigger splashier projects.

Ultimately it’s about mergers, evolutions (and closures) and learning to adapt to survive (and hopefully thrive) in the modern world, not retreating into a increasingly narrowly held view of history or “how things should be” ( in general and specifically in this sector).

And as a general point I’d especially warn against trying to tie this sector into the more jingoistic nationalistic element of politics trying to re-assert the primacy/ dominance of their invariably one-eyed version of history; this sector best survives long term with wide broad political, societal/ public and business support.
 

edwest2

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Politics has no place. What is being missed is the increasing competition from big business and big media for your attention and especially, your dollars. Why go to some old thing like a museum when you can go to The Metaverse and hopefully, start getting addicted AND spending money there. That is the problem. Nothing else.

So, start networking. Post directories that list vetted, useful sites. Talk to people who work at actual archives. Get their ideas. Not all of them just have jobs there. Some are passionate about what they do.
 

zebedee

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(like the TON minesweepers or the preservation of HMS Plymouth, etc)
HMS Plymouth and the other warships at Birkenhead (HMS Onyx & Bronington, LCT 7074 and U534) are a salient lesson in what happens when a developer with the ear of the Local Authority decides it wants the space... at least LCT 7074 and U534 survived, Bronington is currently hanging on, half sunk, in Gillbrook Basin off Birkenhead's West Float dock...

Zeb
 
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