Hidden Treasures Campaign at March Field Air Museum
Riverside, California – March Field Air Museum is kicking off a “Find Our Hidden Treasures “campaign for the month of July. This concerted effort of the Curatorial and Collections Management departments at the museum is a result of increased “finds” brought to the museum in the last few months. The museum is trying to create an awareness of what treasures might be hidden in storage areas and attics of in our neighborhoods. Museum Director “Patricia Korzec notes that “with aging veterans, families might not be aware that their personal records, scrapbooks and letters may have priceless value to museums.
Most recently Pete Brabant, a Riverside resident, brought in a tattered scrapbook that his neighbor rescued from the top of a trash bin. It contained the GI’s original WWII photos taken on Okinawa, the Phillipines, and Formosa, an original Goldfish Club membership card, and 1944 issues of Inside Japan.
Thomas Barnidge, a Moreno Valley resident brought in his father’s original 1947 “Permission to Marry” documents that were necessary when his Air Force dad wanted to marry a Chinese citizen. It shows a world very different from today.
An original telegram was recently donated by Mike Avooski of Moreno Valley. It was his brothers way of telling the family he was on his way home. “Please wire seventy-five dollars. Discharge Wednesday. Fishing Thursday. Broke Now. Letter Follows.”
Two years ago a box of letters was dropped off for the museum director. The cardboard box contained ninety personal letters written during WWII. The museum was unable to locate any surviving family members. For the museum’s curator, Jeff Houlihan, this was a tremendous “find’. “The letters cover SSgt Rogers experiences as a young airman in the Second World War. Intimate and uncensored, the letters give a candid view of army life, training, flying and the gradually increasing awareness of the terrors of war. By preventing the letters from destruction the museum has been afforded an opportunity to preserve the legacy of the common Army Air Force service members of World War 2, all through the first person voice of SSgt Rogers,” says Houlihan. Interns from Cal State San Bernardino have assisted the museum in creating an exhibit that will open fall of 2013.
“Many people have items that they do not know what to do with them or how to properly take care of them. They are stored away in closets, attics, boxes, trunks or other places collecting dust and developing irreversible damage. It is our job to preserve such items for future generations’ education and enjoyment” says the museum’s Collections Manager Michelle Sifuentes. The museum is encouraging everyone to be on the lookout for some of these “hidden treasures” and save them from destruction. Anyone with items may contact firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or call firstname.lastname@example.org.
Museum admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 11 years. Schedule of personal appearances at the two day sessions are: The museum is located at 22550 Van Buren Blvd in Riverside and is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9-4PM.