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Fairbanks Alaska needs a Military History Museum


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Hello All. I was thinking of setting up a display at the local gun show to try to raise support for opening a military history museum here in Fairbanks. I set up a display at home, and took pictures so I could get info from outside sources.

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I plan on having cards with as much info as I can fit on each item, as well as two binders on the table. One binder will have space for people to sign if they support a museum (like a petition, that can be shown to local gov. agencies to prove there is a need), and the other will have space for people to leave contact info if they want to be physically involved in setting up the orginization. How does it look? Do I need to add more items to "fill it out"? Any help would be appreciated. Also, anyone who is on facebook, I started a group called "Fairbanks Alaska needs a military history museum". Please feel free to join.

Thanks

Levi

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Hey Levi,

Nice display there. You know im partial to Alaska because of my Grandfather's service in the Marine Detachment on Kodiak. I think its a great idea. Try searching for possible grants, either through the local, State or Federal Gov't. Federal may be a tough sell with the current economy but Alaska State should have funds for grants still.

Do you know if there is a "State Military Museum" If not I see potential opportunity!

 

I have been long interested in a non-hostile take over of a local military museum that has fallen into disrepair. I plan to attempt to take it over, as the currator has since died and there are only a couple half-harted volunteers presently keeping the lights on. I began to put this into action by taking courses at my university on curratorship and exhibition design, so that I am at least knowledgable in the interworkings of opperating a museum and proper preservation and presentation.

 

Good luck and keep us updated!

Cpl James A Paris, USMC
Stinger Missile Gunner
H&S Co. Support Bn MCRDSD 2002-2003

MarDet Ft Bliss, TX 2003
2nd Plt 1st Stinger Btry, Okinawa 2003-2004
2nd Plt A Btry 3rd LAAD BN Camp Pendleton, CA 2004-2006

Please visit my blog: http://ourcountrysheroes.blogspot.com/

 

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Hey Levi,

Nice display there. You know im partial to Alaska because of my Grandfather's service in the Marine Detachment on Kodiak. I think its a great idea. Try searching for possible grants, either through the local, State or Federal Gov't. Federal may be a tough sell with the current economy but Alaska State should have funds for grants still.

Do you know if there is a "State Military Museum" If not I see potential opportunity!

 

I have been long interested in a non-hostile take over of a local military museum that has fallen into disrepair. I plan to attempt to take it over, as the currator has since died and there are only a couple half-harted volunteers presently keeping the lights on. I began to put this into action by taking courses at my university on curratorship and exhibition design, so that I am at least knowledgable in the interworkings of opperating a museum and proper preservation and presentation.

 

Good luck and keep us updated!

Alaska is rich in military history, and it is very rapidly disappearing. several of the old-timers who were notorious pack-rats have passed away in the last few years, and a majority of the populus see their collections as "Junk". There is some really good stuff out there if I only had a place to store it. The only military history museum in the state to my knowlege is located on Kodiak Island, on fort Abercrombie. here is their website

http://www.kadiak.org/museum/museum.html

Here in the interior, there is a small display (but with some great items) at the University Of Alaska Museum, but they specialize more in Natural History, Native Cultures, and Artwork. The Air museum at Pioneer Park Has some great aviation items, Including a Bell UH-1 hellicopter, but they seem desprately out of space. The Transportation museum in Anchorage has a few great military vehicles, but they are out in the weather, and most are in a poor state. I am hoping I can meet people by setting up this display who would be willing to help me get this thing started. If I start a non-profit, we will need board members, and such. I don't know, it is just an idea at this point.

Levi

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I think the display is great but I don't think your idea can gain much traction because of the small population of the area. I don't know if Wainwright has a base historian but if it does maybe they can co-op some space. You are very correct about the rich military history of the state. I became very interested in it when I was driving up the ALCAN to Eielson for the best assignment I ever had in the USAF.

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GOD Bless Texas And All That Serve Her

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I think the display is great but I don't think your idea can gain much traction because of the small population of the area. I don't know if Wainwright has a base historian but if it does maybe they can co-op some space. You are very correct about the rich military history of the state. I became very interested in it when I was driving up the ALCAN to Eielson for the best assignment I ever had in the USAF.

You may be entirely correct on Fairbanks having too small of a population, however, an Idea must start somewhere. All I am trying to do at this time is make enough contacts to help start a non-profit organization. All other aspects can come later.

 

Currently, the Fairbanks Northstar borough population is estimated at about 97,970, the estimate for 2018 is 104,514. All local residents aside, Fairbanks is primarily a tourist city in the summer time. There are really only four major revenue sources for the Fairbanks Area: Oil, Gold, Military, and tourism. Just about all other businesses feed off of those four. The approximate tourist count for Alaska in the summer of 2008 was 1,707,400. Most of these visitors, I'm sure, stayed in the southeast region, possibly venturing as far as Anchorage. However, of the 1.7 million tourists, 59,900 arrived via the ALCAN. It is safe to assume that most of them ventured into Fairbanks. Also, 800,600 arrived in Alaska via air travel. It is safe to assume that some of those visitors also made it to Fairbanks. Take that in conjunction with the Princess Cruise packages that include a train ride to Fairbanks, and I think there are enough tourists to keep a museum going.

 

The tourist numbers can be seen here: http://www.commerce.state.ak.us/oed/toubus/pub/AVSP_2008.pdf

 

One must keep in mind, however that the tourist numbers for 2008 were higher than expected with the poor economy. Presumably because trips out of country became less desirable for American citizens due to the price of the US dollar, as well as increased international visitors for the same reason. The 2009 numbers will probably be far lower.

 

As far as a base historian goes, I have not even tried that avenue yet. I know of a state military historian in Anchorage, but I haven't contacted him yet. Primarily, I see the first step as getting a Non-profit organization started. Until this is done, I would really just be spinning my wheels. Even if nothing ever happens, by having a non-profit, it creates an entity to go along with the idea.

 

Thanks for your input, I hope I haven't rambled on too much. When were you at Eielson?

Levi

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This is just a thought... to consider.

 

I might be inclined to think in terms of making it a privately owned museum, rather than to rely on highly competitive grants etc.

 

It could still be founded as a not for profit institution, and be eligible to accept donations, without depending on them. I believe the military museum in Branson, MO is just such a hybrid.

 

Based on the experience of working in the museum industry to retirement, there are many pitfalls in public dependency that I would avoid at all costs, if it were mine to do over. In the USA there are about 9000+ museums, most of which are historical, all competing for the same dollars.

 

Additionally, in the hierarchy and politics of museums, military ones are not as highly regarded by those in control of the profession as they should be... in my opinion.

 

The American Association of Museums, and the American Association for State and Local History are the main professional help groups - as you probably know. They have nothing else to do but be helpful, and they are - more so than many of their individual members are likely to be.

 

Links:

http://www.aam-us.org/museumresources/ic/index.cfm

 

http://www.aaslh.org/faqs.htm

HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC








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Why don't you try...Willow, if they can't get the Capitol so why not give them "The Alaska Military History Museum"...

 

Right now everyone outside is scratching their heads but the Alaskans are rolling with laughter, or groaning.

 

You may have more of a chance in Anchorage, or the Mat-Su Valley. There was a used car lot between Wasilla and Palmer at one time which was ALMOST a museum. I also can think of a few Weasels around Talkeetna.

 

T-Bone

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I applaud your effort, and wish you luck. Some years back the Government offered me the physical facilities to set up a WWII Museum in the Washington, D.C. area. I considered the loss of control and the Government interference, and decided to graciously turn down their offer.

 

But, you asked about comments regarding your display. First thing I would do would be to prop the visored service caps back, as if being worn, so that the brass will show. I would try to have as many donated items on display as possible, complete with biographic data, to encourage spectators to donate their history. Yes, I would add some additional items to broaden the scope.

 

Give your dream a shot. Jack

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Bluehawk,

Thankyou for your reply. At this point, I am just trying to explore all options. Everything at this point depends on what other locals I can get on board. Right now, I am just at the brain-storming stage. There is an automobile museum here That just opened recently. It is a privately owned not-for-profit. I plan on talking to the people involved in running it, and see how they have it set up. It is just one more idea. Thankyou for the links as well. I had been on the AAM webpage before, but I hadn't seen the aaslh one. They seem like great resources.

 

T-bone,

Willow! :lol: . that's classic. but seriously, When you were up here did you go to the transportation musuem? It is technically in Wasilla I think. It is a pretty good museum. Lots of early farm equipment, and some military items as well. I'm sure a Military History museum would do much better in the Anchorage area, but I don't like the idea of having a 360 mile trip to get to see it. I really think there is enough interest in the Fairbanks area to keep this thing going. Thankyou for your input.

 

Jack,

Thankyou for your help. I think I will try to prop the caps back by making a wire frame. I may do away with the one on the left, as it is badly sun bleached. I plan on having as much biographic data as I can on them, however, none of the uniforms were aquired from the vets. The data I have on them is very limited. I will have as complete of a writeup as I can on each piece. I will see what smaller items I have that I can use to fill in some spaces. Thanks for your input.

Levi

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I was at Eielson from 1990 to 1993 great people and a great state. Have you ever visited the B29 that is sitting in the pond at Eielson. There used to be a museum on the ALCAN in the same building that the road commander used as his headquaters. I know we stopped there and its where I bought "The Trail of 42" which is a great read of the construction effort but I don't remember if it was in BC or the Yukon. For those interested in the military history of Alaska the Forgotton War by Cohen is great.

 

Moose season and salmon fishing is right around the corner.

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GOD Bless Texas And All That Serve Her

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I was at Eielson from 1990 to 1993 great people and a great state. Have you ever visited the B29 that is sitting in the pond at Eielson. There used to be a museum on the ALCAN in the same building that the road commander used as his headquaters. I know we stopped there and its where I bought "The Trail of 42" which is a great read of the construction effort but I don't remember if it was in BC or the Yukon. For those interested in the military history of Alaska the Forgotton War by Cohen is great.

 

Moose season and salmon fishing is right around the corner.

This is a great place to live. I have been past the B-29, but never had a chance to stop. I was working at the time, and on the clock. I have not seen the alcan museum. I am going to be driving down to the states in the next few months, so I will have to look for it. Usually when I drive, I am hell bent on getting down the road. I made it from Fairbanks to Prescott, Arizona in three days and four nights by myself once. I think I will take my time on this one. "the Trail of '42" is a great book. I always loved the pictures of the military vehicles. There is one picture of a Canadian Cargo truck in there that is really neat. I don't know what it is, but I like it. "The Forgotten War" is also a great book. Mr Cohen has now published, I think, two more. The original one became volume I. They are all equally as good.

By the way, The silvers are just starting to come into Valdez strong. It is a little bit of a late run. Moose season started last Tuesday, but it has been too warm for them to move around much. Everybody I know who went out opening week came up empty handed (myself included).

Levi

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I made it from Fairbanks to Prescott, Arizona in three days and four nights by myself once. I think I will take my time on this one.

 

By the way, The silvers are just starting to come into Valdez strong. It is a little bit of a late run. Moose season started last Tuesday, but it has been too warm for them to move around much. Everybody I know who went out opening week came up empty handed (myself included).

Levi

 

Levi

 

If you were not from Fairbanks I would have said BS on F'banks to Prescott in 3 days...but I have seen the way you folks drive up there :)

 

As for the Silvers, you really know how to make me feel homesick. The fishing is great but the morning drive in the clouds coming over the pass and into Valdez...yo just can't explain that to someone down here. Or how your car got clipped by an EAGLE drivining down to the salmon run by the pump station; people just don't believe it here :thumbsup:

 

I was thinking about the museum idea, have you talked to Jay Ramras (Sp.?) out at Pike's Landing? He may be a big help since he is (was) in the legislature last time I saw him and is on a holy mission to bring more tourism and business up to your area. I can shoot him an email if you would like. PM me on that one.

 

T-Bone

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If you can get it going, my dad might be willing to donate some stuff from his time on Kodiak in the mid 50s. He has a bunch of his photos on the kaidak website.

 

I actually just sent off about 150 or so 8x10 photos taken by a guy in a USAAC photo mapping squadron who was doing work in Alaska in 1939-1940. I didn't know what else to do with them, so I donated them to the state museum. They were very excited about the photos he took of the local population there; apparently pre-WW2 photos of Eskimos are pretty rare. I had no idea!

 

Dave

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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