CHAIR'S REPORT TO AIR FORCE MUSEUM SOCIETY OF ALBERTA
AGM 4 JUNE 2013
The last year has been challenging and rewarding for the Society. Before I explain in more detail let me speak briefly on what I believe to be one of the most unique and culturally valuable assets of our Air Force Museum. I am speaking about location and neighbours. Uniquely in Canada, we are part of a rich amalgamation of art, academia and armed forces. Seven military museums share one roof with an art gallery and a university library. This team works well together and provides one of the most unique experiences available in Canada today. Our visitors enjoy a Canadian military experience that is rewarding on many levels. We have great neighbours and on behalf of the Air Force Museum Society, I salute them and thank them for their comradeship.
The year in more detail. Our first challenge was reacting to the news that the price tag for putting our CF 18 and CF 104 under cover on the existing patio was well beyond our means - roughly 3.5 million dollars. We regrouped and realized that other options were available for telling the Cold War story that needs to be told. We have made great progress in the last 9 months and shaved 2 million dollars off the price tag. . Excellent support from Sprung Shelters has enabled us to move the engineering side of the project forward. We are now planning two shelters that will be models of the Hardened Aircraft Shelters in which our aircraft were hangared during the dark days of the Cold War. Few Canadians know about the extreme levels of combat readiness maintained for decades in NATO and we want to tell that story. 4 Wing Cold Lake in general and 1 AMS in particular are great allies in this work and we are thankful for their insight and guidance in a number of areas. The preparation of CF 18 number 719 and the CF 18 simulator is ongoing and the number of volunteer hours and personal "sweat equity" is amazing. Thank you 4 Wing. Our CF 104 will arrive in Calgary in June and start the refurbishment process under the leadership of our strong volunteer cadre. Thank you to Ken Lett whose generous contribution made the 104 acquisition possible. We continue to work with Construction Engineering as the project goes forward as a licensing agreement with elements of DND in Edmonton. Like all large projects it is a complex process, but that only makes it sweeter as we take each step. We are 1/3 of the way to raising the funds for the Cold War Exhibit. Furthermore, we are working with two very strong leads and we should have word on the outcome of our fund raising efforts later this Spring.
On May 9th we celebrated our fourth birthday and showcased our new exhibits, most notably on the Korean War and the Lancaster Bomb Bay display. It was a great evening where 100 of us gathered to enjoy the company and say thank you to our volunteers and supporters.
Another upgrade that everyone will see later this year will be the painting of the CF5. Today it is proudly mounted on the side of Crowchild pointed upwards in a very effective but weather worn grey blue camouflage. The "camo" is so effective that many people don't really notice it, unless they are stuck in traffic. The refurbishment is required to maintain the integrity of the aircraft and a return to the mottled green camouflage of the Cold War era will make it stand out and highlight our presence.
Planning is well underway for our golf tournament. The whole day is a lot of fun and registrations have started coming in, so please sign up or let your golfer friends know about it - August 21st - details on our web site - www.rcaf.museum. Another important fund raiser for us is the raffle for a return trip for 2 to any West Jet
destination. There are only 1000 tickets printed so your odds are pretty good and the price is right - $10 per ticket. You can purchase a ticket from any board member or if you want to sell a book of tickets just let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org
In the digital world we are doing well and aspiring to do more. One of our directors has taken on the task of updating the web site content to make it an even more important aspect of our Museum face to the world. It is important as ,for example, in the month of May 245 visitors came to the web site. Another director continues to keep our Facebook page updated regularly and we are reaching out to people around the world on this very effective social medium. Our readership and presence on Facebook continues to grow by leaps and bounds. For example during one week in May we reached out to 971 unique people and since the inception of the page there have been over 142,000 friends of fans of our site.
Our plans for a multi lingual museum guide book are moving forward as well and we plan on it also having a digital element. Facebook, Twitter and interactive multi-media educational applications are here to stay and so are we!!
Quite correctly our museum is more than modern media. Our curator has catalogued and appropriately cared for 3,800 artefacts. This is a rich resource that will only grow with time so our recent acquisition of first class storage is an important element in our growth. As well, the addition of the air transport display, Korean War display, Lancaster bomb bay display and upgrades to the movies in the Nissen Theatre ensure that the Museum is always fresh and vibrant.
Two of our directors took on the challenge to rewrite our by-laws to keep them in line with the most up to date guidance for not for profit societies such as ours. They will come into effect after a vote at the AGM and will be just another example of our efforts t o stay out in front of all changes that impact our ability to perform our tasks.
Financially we are sound. We are in the black through the efforts of many to raise funds through a number of initiatives and we are thankful for our treasurer who ensures that all of our projects and initiatives are well planned through a rigorous budgeting process.
In closing let me say to all of our volunteers that your efforts are seen, acknowledged and appreciated. It is one thing to be appreciated at our level; however, I believe that your contributions to the RCAF and to the province of Alberta are important at a another level as well. Giving our time and energy as volunteers is an appropriate and rewarding way to pay back to the country that has given us so much. And in the process we are ensuring that the history and significant contributions of one of its important institutions - the RCAF - are told in a modern, balanced and confident manner. Definitely a win-win strategy.