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In the Attic of the 45th ID Museum in Oklahoma City.


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Wish my attic looked like this. All that I have in my attic are some boxes of Christmas ornaments, fake Christmas tree, and other house hold items. Would be cool if they held a auction and sold some of the items and using the items into helping preserve the items on display or possibly make the museum bigger and make more displays.

Always looking for WW2 USMC militaria and WW2 Corpsman militaria. If you have any you don't want or want to sell let me know, I might be interested.

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As a military museum professional, let me say that not all military museum collections are stored this way. The term "best practices" has been used here already and that applies to storage methods as well. However, that being said, most museum collections operate on shoestring budgets and proper archival storage materials and housing are expensive. It's usually always a case of "do the best you can with what you have." I don't doubt that the person in charge of this collection realizes his storage shortcomings and would like to do better. If you feel strongly enough about how this collection is stored, then don't hesitate to send a check to the museum with the note "For Collections Storage Improvement" in bold letters.

On the other hand, other than the amazing 45th ID captured Nazi flag, I didn't notice any other 45th specific items. Literally one hundred WWI service coats on a rack but I didn't see any with SSI from the unit this museum is supposed to collect? Anyone else catch this? Some proper artifact selection and accessioning practices could remedy this problem and help alleviate the space issue.

Always interested in buying Vietnam-era Air Force, Army helicopter units, and Illinois veteran items.

Looking for items identified to Captain Charles M. Porter, Company C, 131st Infantry, 33rd Division AEF.

 

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A friend of mine has a named WWII Army Soldiers Medal group with original documents for a life saving action that happened at the Coast Artillery fort that a museum is housed in. He got to see the back room at the museum and they had TONS of stuff that has no meaning to the mission of the museum. He offered to trade his group to them for another medal in the back room and was told NO we never trade , we want you to give us your medal. He left and that museum lost out on a great opportunity. The item he wanted is collecting dust in the back room.

 

Sometimes common sense does not make sense. I know many museums do trade to get items for their collections, but not in this case.

 

Kurt

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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Cobrahistorian

There are a few issues at play here, and I will agree wholeheartedly with my fellow museum professionals that have already posted.

 

Firstly, museum collecting, until recently (past ten to fifteen years) has been random, haphazard and guided more by the desire to preserve a rare piece than to further the museum's mission. This resulted in some phenomenal collections being acquired by museums over the decades, but some question as to how pertinent those items are to the museum's mission. Every museum has (or should have!) a Mission Statement and Scope of Collections statement. The first defines who you are as an organization and the second defines what you collect.

 

Many people are complaining about these items being "kept from view". Think about this: more than likely the items you see there would have been thrown out, played with by "the kids" or otherwise destroyed. They have been saved from that fate.

 

Museums no longer work in a vacuum either. If I have items in the collection that were collected at one point but are not pertinent to my mission and scope of collections, I pass it along to a museum that can use it. Case in point, I've got a phenomenal named WWI 82nd Division engineers uniform in my collection. It will be on its way to Ft. Leonard Wood shortly to the Engineers museum, just like the Korean War Det X 507th AAA uniform they sent me last year. Most people would see that as a completely lopsided trade. Museums trade within the community, not with the public. An object held in my collection traded to a collector benefits no one but that collector. An object traded to another museum benefits the public and has a better chance of being displayed and used to educate.

 

Many museums operate on limited budgets and don't have access to proper archival quality materials. Let's face it, most people don't have any interest in going to a military museum. We're a niche market. Funding competition is extremely fierce and opportunities are fairly limited. Heck, when I was the collections manager for a small museum in south Texas, I ended up buying acid free backing boards and mylar comic book bags from the local comic shop just to get paper and small textiles in a more stable environment. If you as a museum cannot show you're a worthwhile investment to a funder, you don't get funded. Period. Kinda hard to preserve stuff when you're simply trying to keep the environmental conditions stable.

 

Museum Science as a profession is still GREATLY under-appreciated. Very few people really understand what goes into being a museum curator. Most people think it's just a matter of about collecting stuff and putting it in cases. Not so. I get into my collections room maybe once a week. My collections manager does only slightly more often. As a staff of two, especially as an Army museum, we have far more issues to cover than collections work on a day to day basis. Fortunately, we have state of the art collections storage cabinets and enough archival storage materials to keep our collection properly stored and cared for.

 

The 45th Division Museum has a great collection and they do a great job displaying it in the space they have. Anyone can criticize, but again, you make do with the tools you have.

 

How many of you criticizing museum practices use cotton gloves when handling objects or house your collections in archival materials? Do you maintain your temp and humidity at constant rates year round? I will qualify this too, by saying that while I am a museum professional, I am also a collector, as many of us are. My collection is housed as best I can with the materials I can afford.

 

 

Jon

 

Director/Curator,

US Army Air Defense Artillery Museum

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Looking for ETO/MTO P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Curator of Arms & Armor at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

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It is pointless for an institution to hoard that much stuff that they know they will never use.

 

Several hundred WW1 uniforms.....rows of hats......was any effort made to identify the veteran or to keep groupings together?

 

I understand advertising for donations and accepting the stuff........but after a point you might as well make some space.

 

The 45th Div. kraut flag was very cool too.....nicely done, and that one obviously does fit into the purpose of the museum.

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Always interested in the 166th Infantry, 42nd Division, A.E.F.

Quality WW1 studio portraits and real photo postcards of Distinguished Service Cross recipients; showing steel helmets; or other interesting content.

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Cobrahistorian

Accepting a donation isn't just a "thanks for the stuff". There's a lot of paperwork that goes along with it and the metadata collected along with the object (associated names, units, events) are just as important as the object itself. That is one thing that museums have been doing for years. State and federal museums (they're a state museum that gets some federal funding) have been doing this for a while now, especially those collections that the Army's Center of Military History governs. I know the curator up there and I can assure you the staff there knows most, if not all of whom wore those uniforms. Many were donated by local Oklahoma or Texas soldiers, so while you see numerous different units, I see a kaleidoscope of local history.

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Looking for ETO/MTO P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Curator of Arms & Armor at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2009.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2010.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2011.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2012.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2013.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2014.gif

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IIRC the "45th" museum has a mission statement posted saying they are, despite the name, devoted to the entire ARMY history of Oklahoma. So any artifact associated with an Oklahoma native son or even someone who came to roost and retire there is fair game.

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I see a kaleidoscope of local history............that most likely will never see the light of day in a display......

 

 

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad these weren't thrown away, etc. But how many uniforms are enough in their closet....100? 500? 1000? 10,000? 25,000?

 

At some point you have to realize that there might be a better outlet for some of these.

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Always interested in the 166th Infantry, 42nd Division, A.E.F.

Quality WW1 studio portraits and real photo postcards of Distinguished Service Cross recipients; showing steel helmets; or other interesting content.

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Cobrahistorian

I see a kaleidoscope of local history............that most likely will never see the light of day in a display......

 

 

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad these weren't thrown away, etc. But how many uniforms are enough in their closet....100? 500? 1000? 10,000? 25,000?

 

At some point you have to realize that there might be a better outlet for some of these.

 

One of the great things about museums is they are constantly self-assessing (or at least they should be!). What may have been a good fit for the collection at one point may not necessarily be anymore. That's why we develop those inter-institutional networks that enable great pieces to move to a better venue so that they CAN be exhibited. Also, you've gotta realize that putting an item on exhibit is inherently bad for the object. Light does untold damage to most materials. We rotate post-1914 artifacts on a yearly basis, pre-1914 every nine months. That's Army policy. Many museums try to follow similar policies.

 

I'm kinda dealing with that in a negative way right now. The Ordnance Museum had a really rare Jaboschreck 3cm AA gun in its collection from the immediate post WWII period up until last year when it came to me at the ADA Museum. At some point, the gun was removed from the chassis and sent to the National Air & Space Museum to be displayed with their aviation weapons collection. At the time, Ordnance had no plans to exhibit it and NASM needed an Mk103 cannon to display. When the carriage arrived here last year, it obviously came without the gun. I've been trying to track it down since then and finally located it yesterday. I plan on exhibiting the whole piece, since I'm pretty sure it is the last surviving example of 3000 built.

 

Museums are not perfect and we are constantly evolving. Practices that were considered commonplace thirty years ago are now viewed as archaic and sometimes outright destructive.

 

 

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Looking for ETO/MTO P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Curator of Arms & Armor at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2009.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2010.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2011.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2012.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2013.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2014.gif

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  • 4 months later...

The 45th ID Museum turns away donations almost daily. Uniforms, weapons, and equipment which anyone of us would love to have. They only accept donations now which will have a chance of some day being displayed. Currently the museum is packed as tight as it can be with displays for the public to view. Workers there cannot accept the turned down donations for themselves or redirect the donator to individual collectors. When a gun is offered as a donation that they don't wish to accept the only people they can refer the donor to is the police department to get rid of the gun. Stored uniforms are in the process of being fumigated and prepared for more proper storage but it is a big job with only a few people to do the work.

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dear lord! I never knew that museum had a storage attic. I have heard that the museum at WEST POINT N.Y. had a ton of stuff that was donated throughout the years but, never seen actual pictures. my uncle served in the 45th ww2 as a field hospital medic. 120th medical battalion. kind of makes you wonder where all that will wind up in the end???

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  • 1 month later...

This is a very well-done museum. Lots of heart. The Cowboy Museum nearby is also well done.

Ted Filer

LTC (USA, Retired)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I want to be perfectly fair to the 45 ID museum. Most of the stuff you see in the attic was donated many years ago when they did not have solid guidelines for accepting donations. The director and staff there now are very picky about what is accepted. They do not accept donations to put them into storage. Many, many items are offered to the museum which any of us would love to have and the museum has to turn down the donation due to the items not fitting the "needs" of the museum. Even if they had twice the floor space for exhibits and the money to prepare and set up displays I don't know if they would accept more than a few items each year. And I don't know that more than a few items in the attic would be historical and unique enough to justify displaying. There are only so many WW2 uniforms people would want to see.

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  • 2 months later...
27Division18

Outstanding, and very sobering to think this stuff never sees the light of day. But that is the way it usually is.What museums publicly display represents only a fraction of their actual holdings. Let's see some rotation of exhibits.

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BelligerentBlue

While this is incredible... it also makes me really sad. Just goes to show how much a museum can hold that will never see the light of day. While I enjoy museums, I'd be very hard pressed to ever submit anything to one for this reason. I'd rather keep it in the collector market where it can change hands and be seen and enjoyed, if even just by the collector and their family/ friends.

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Collecting Helmets (Especially WWI Painted and USMC) and anything and everything Marine Corps.
Looking hard for WW1 1/6 USMC items.

 

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I think the advice has been on here before that before donating to a museum, have a talk with them and ask if they actually intend to use your material for display.

 

Even with that, there is no guarantee they will keep your donations for ever. Curators change, exhibits change. Witness the Desert Storm, OIF/OEF exhibits that are popping up... what ever was there before has been moved to make room.

 

We have a thread on the Jay Massaro DI collection that is now on display at Camp Mabry, TX. I suspect that Jay and the museum probably discussed their accessing his collection years before it happened. The display went up relatively shortly after his passing.

 

But this is the exception rather than the rule.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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  • 1 month later...
General Apathy

The 45th ID Museum turns away donations almost daily. Uniforms, weapons, and equipment which anyone of us would love to have. They only accept donations now which will have a chance of some day being displayed. Currently the museum is packed as tight as it can be with displays for the public to view. Workers there cannot accept the turned down donations for themselves or redirect the donator to individual collectors. When a gun is offered as a donation that they don't wish to accept the only people they can refer the donor to is the police department to get rid of the gun. Stored uniforms are in the process of being fumigated and prepared for more proper storage but it is a big job with only a few people to do the work.

Hi Flashlarue, thanks for the tour of the 45th museum, the store rooms are just as I recall them from the late 80's, I was fortunate enough to have a private tour of the museum on a closed day by the curator arranged for me by Ernest Childers ( MOH 45th Div ). Your comment is spot on about donations being turned away, I was very sad to witness this whilst I was there, a car turned up outside the museum and the driver approached the door carrying what turned out to be his grand-pappies WWI uniform. The curator unlocked the door and spoke with him then returned indoors empty-handed and I just had to ask the question why wasn't it accepted, he led us to a section of the store room and there were twenty other identical uniforms with the same patch sat there, more than they will ever need was his comment.

 

Ken

.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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  • 4 months later...

Holy goodness, that's quite a storeroom! I've been there a few times before and had no idea all that was there. I have a friend who volunteers at the 45th museum, so I'll try to get a tour someday. ;)

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Your comment is spot on about donations being turned away, I was very sad to witness this whilst I was there, a car turned up outside the museum and the driver approached the door carrying what turned out to be his grand-pappies WWI uniform. The curator unlocked the door and spoke with him then returned indoors empty-handed and I just had to ask the question why wasn't it accepted, he led us to a section of the store room and there were twenty other identical uniforms with the same patch sat there, more than they will ever need was his comment.

 

I have always wondered what these museum people tell folks in such a case, because I'd imagine the next question would be, "Okay, if you don't want it, what should I do with it?" in regard to getting rid of it.

Could I assume that some collectors give a stack of cards to some museums with the instructions of, "Hey, if you don't want it and they wanna get rid of it bad, have them call me..."

Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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Army museums by Army regulations cannot accept conditional donations like the ones you describe. This has been the rule for quite a while.

I was a Trustee of the 1st Cavalry Division Museum. They are only able to display about 10-15% of what they have because of space & funding. We are looking at a new museum by 2018.

You also have to look at the "Intent of the Donor". If they donor of the item states that he will donate the item only if it will be displayed, the "Intent of the Donor' must be kept. But if a donor just drops items off without a written "Intent of Donor" statement, the museum can pretty much do what they want with the items. Danny

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Leatherneck72

Exactly why you shouldn't donate anything to a museum. Thousands upon thousands of pieces that have nothing to do with the museum.

LEATHERNECK72


Advanced Collector and USMC Officer --- Paying top dollar for quality Marine Corps antiques. Kepis, shakos, helmets, hats, good conduct medals, old photos, fighting knives, hat and collar emblems, swords, guns, documents. Keep your USMC item in a Marine Corps family! Send me a PM and let me know what you have....

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Exactly why you shouldn't donate anything to a museum. Thousands upon thousands of pieces that have nothing to do with the museum.

 

And sometimes they'll trade your donation away.

I won't name names, but a well-known government-run museum badly wanted something in my collection. The next time I was there, I was taken into a similar storeroom, was told to look around for, "Anything you think you might part with it for..."

I told the person where to stick it and left. Never been back since and I'll never donate anything to a museum after that experience.

Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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