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  Flown hardware code of ethics for curators (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Flown hardware code of ethics for curators
chet
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posted 09-13-2012 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Rather simplistic, but if there were no buyers, there'd be no market...
Bingo!
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
A whitelist, rather than a blacklist, would only include those who agree not to segment artifacts any further then they already are, regardless if they are dealers, collectors, investors, charity organizations or curators.
Robert, I applaud your very good suggestion.

space1
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posted 09-13-2012 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But by not joining the whitelist, aren't you essentially putting yourself on the blacklist (or maybe the greylist)?

Spacepsycho
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posted 09-13-2012 03:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find it disturbing and insulting that anyone thinks they can tell a collector what they can or can't do with their property. If you want to protect, preserve, curate and otherwise be a good steward for historical artifacts, God bless you. If you don't want artifacts cut up into small fragments, then I suggest you put your money where your mouth is and buy every important artifact to guarantee it's condition. Better yet, how about you boycott all of the guys who are shreading factories, so they have no customers for their fragment displays.

Skyman has an extraordinary collection, as he correctly stated, most if not all museums wouldn't qualify as good stewards of artifacts by the "guidelines" according to Kyra. Back in the 80's and 90's the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum was routinely destroying extremely rare artifacts because they had no room to house them. The historical artifacts intentionally destroyed by the museum is staggering and the pieces lost didn't need to be destroyed, they could have been given to other museums.

I have 100+ rare artifacts on loan to museums for free, all I ask is they're insured and they're displayed to the public. I've been through many museum backrooms and storage areas, if you were to see the poor condition, lack of care and pathetic budgets that don't allow the protection of artifacts, you'd have a stroke.

When I purchased the Lunar Orbiter sold by Langley in 2003, it was in horrendous condition from 20+ years of neglect. I spent many dozens of hours researching the proper way to restore it, finding the proper materials required to polish it, taking it to 10-15 metal working experts to take out the dents and then spending 80-100 hours polishing it with my fingertips so I wouldn't damage the structure. This Lunar Orbiter is 1 of 3 in existence (the others in the National Air and Space Museum and Virginia Air & Space), so you'd think that NASA/Langley or any museum curator would take great pains to preserve and protect this rare artifact. Guess again, it took a private collector to restore and bring it back into the public's eye again.

Based on what I've seen over the years, the private collector is a much better protector of rare artifacts than any museum. There are exceptions like Al Valdes at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, who take great pains to preserve and protect their artifacts. We private collectors have a passion and knowledge of these artifacts that greatly exceeds the vast majority of museum staffs. Not only that but we all have a financial stake in maintaining our artifacts because one day we or our families are going to sell our stuff.

Like most of you, I hate it when rare artifacts are cut up and turned into fragment cards. I won't sell to certain people because I know it will end up as tiny fragments on 8x10 displays. But are you going to condemn guys like Williamson or Slezak who cut up their film leaders and put them on displays? How about the ASF cutting up the flown beta patch? Okay, so it raised more money for their organization, but does that justify destroying a rare artifact? How about Jerry Cubinzki fragmenting artifacts or Winco for destroying flown metal artifacts to make their coins that we all buy? How about blaming NASA for melting flown metal to make their MFA coin? Did you want to hold the astronauts to the these "guidelines", because many here don't think they should be selling off individual pages of flown checklists, thereby destroying a historical document. How about he Kansas Cosmosphere for cutting up Liberty Bell 7 film or pieces of flown hardware in lucites? Where does this slippery slope end?

We all know that Florian never met an artifact that he didn't dream of cutting up and making a lot of money. Okay, so he wants to cut up and destroy rare artifacts to make money, so what. I don't agree with that, but the only thing I can control is that I will never buy anything that he produces. That said, judging what he's paying for artifacts and then making fragment cards, it's obvious there's a lot of guys who have no problem buying his stuff. That's called freedom.

As far as the NASA Inspector General actively confiscating anything they deem "historic," their lack of scope or guidelines as to what they're hunting for, is it any wonder people aren't displaying rare pieces. Why would they if there's a chance that their going to lose it?

How in good conscience can NASA confiscate artifacts that were discarded, thrown in the dumpster or otherwise given away when the programs were cancelled. Back in the day nobody cared about this "junk" and when junk was taken home, it was considered worthless. So now that these items have become artifacts worth thousands of dollars, the NASA OIG is going to steal these pieces from those who legally collected them. Please don't tell me that these items are stolen or were improperly discarded or not properly scrapped. Back in the day NASA destroyed many millions of dollars worth of artifacts because they were considered scrap, so the fact that workers took pieces as a remembrance of their dedication to the program, doesn't constitute theft.

There's a huge difference between someone like Ed Mitchell or contractor workers who spent years working on the space program taking an item that was expendable and someone like Max Ary, who with intent ripped off every collector and space enthusiast by stealing, then selling rare space artifacts on loan from NASA to enrich himself.

I know this is long, but one quick story. A couple of years ago I spoke with a gentleman who worked at NAA in Downey. Part of his job was installing and removing the silver based batteries used in the Apollo command module. He took home every expended battery from every Apollo spacecraft that was returned to Downey after the mission. He read about the NASA Inspector General going after someone's artifacts, some expendable parts that they had taken from the spacecraft after the missions. The news scared this gentleman, so he decided to melt down these silver batteries and sell the metal for scrap prices. That's the way to treat people, scare the crap out of them so they destroy rare pieces instead of doing everything they can to preserve artifacts.

I just spoke with the grandson of a gentleman who worked on every Apollo mission at Downey. This guy had dozens and dozens of lucites, resins, flags, medals and parts from the Apollo spacecraft that his grandfather collected. This guy decided that nobody was interested in space junk, so he threw it in the dumpster after his grandfather passed away. I didn't know whether to beat him or laugh in his face, but he wasn't laughing when I told him how much his grandfather's stuff would have sold for.

Bottom line, if it ain't your artifact, you have no say of what happens to it. If you want to stop artifact destruction, stop buying fragment cards. No customers equals no money, no money equals can't buy rare artifacts to cut up.

chet
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posted 09-13-2012 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by space1:
But by not joining the whitelist, aren't you essentially putting yourself on the blacklist (or maybe the greylist)?

Only some will see it that way. But since I'm a believer in never saying never, let me be the first to exclude myself from that "white" list. (Others that choose to view me as belonging on a "black" list are certainly free to do so).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-13-2012 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by space1:
But by not joining the whitelist, aren't you essentially putting yourself on the blacklist (or maybe the greylist)?
No, not necessarily. But you could be putting yourself at a disadvantage with anyone on the whitelist.

For example, a collector on the whitelist might choose to only do business with a dealer on the whitelist.

So eventually, there might be an incentive for a dealer not on the list to weigh his/her business cutting apart artifacts with the potential business from those on the list. The list is a carrot rather than a whip...

Spaceguy5
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posted 09-13-2012 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is how I justify groups like the ASF, NASA's Spaceflight Awareness program, and Winco destroying items: If it's just items like tires or pieces of beta cloth and other insulation, NASA has had a very large stock of scrap over the years, most of which has just been thrown out.

However as far as I know, only a small number of private collectors own flown tires. I've only heard of a few flown tiles being on the market as well. While more own intact insulation blankets, they're still fairly uncommon. And they'll be more uncommon now that the space shuttle program is over, NASA is done servicing the orbiters, and all the scrap has probably been thrown away. Therefore it's worse for private collectors to destroy one of few remaining examples, than it was for SFA to have just selected a blanket that was going to be thrown away anyways (to turn into bookmarks).

What aggravates me the most is the eBay seller who's been destroying items such as flown checklist pages, that bar of soap flown on Skylab, and a number of other items. And that seller outright committed fraud when he cut up a roll of aluminum insulation tape and claimed it was flown. I tried messaging him on eBay to tell him it wasn't flown and that he should revise his listing, but he never responded. That's the kind of stuff that I'd like to see less of in our community.

Also aggravating is that I noticed that the eBay seller who is selling the space suit cut ups is also selling a presentation that includes a cut off from STS-86 flown insulation, and a cut off from "Authentic Li-900 insulation," as well as another display that's just Li-900 and nothing else for $23.

Note: Based on the size and their description of the material, I believe they just bought some of the souvenir tiles (3"x3"x1/4") that the KSCVC sells for $15, cut them into 12 small pieces, and slapped on a Challenger/Columbia memorial on the back. Not only is that tacky and disrespectful, but it's also very deceiving to consumers because they're paying more for less.

Charlie16
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posted 09-13-2012 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Charlie16   Click Here to Email Charlie16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It will be common sense to guide collectors. Cut into pieces spatial artifacts
can never be a good thing. Those who can not afford whole pieces (like me) will have to get over it and buy items within his reach.

Well for the lists, I would not give color. I know that a seller must make a fair profit for his business, however, must have respect of the artifacts.
To have the respect of collectors and of itself.

fredtrav
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posted 09-13-2012 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would not presume to tell anyone what they should do with their property. I like the whitelist idea so collectors have the option of selling their object to someone who will continue its protection and not cut it up. While I can not afford the great majority of the historic pieces, I would be glad to place my name on a list as one who would not cut up items to resell.

I also do not buy small fragments of historic items. They are just not appealing to me as a collectible even if the object cut up has little value. The exception I have made is pieces of Kapton that was flown and I only have two.

SpaceAholic
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posted 09-13-2012 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those of us who are against the practice of destroying artifacts stand as surrogates for individuals who are not yet born and don’t have a voice to advocate for protection of heritage so that it will be around when they too enter into this world. I hope our legacy as collectors isn’t a trail of ruined artifacts and lost knowledge.

chet
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posted 09-13-2012 10:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Destroying is a pretty loaded word; I don't think anybody is condoning that and I'd certainly not be involved in it.

At the same time I think preservation can also be taken to extremes; not every scrap that ever had a place in the space program needs to be preserved in exactly the same state in order to leave a "living history" for future generations.

My or anyone else's not being willing to commit to the "white" list should not in and of itself be equated with or characterized as an indifference to caring about the legacy of America's space programs.

spaced out
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posted 09-14-2012 01:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spaceguy5:
... Also aggravating is that I noticed that the eBay seller who is selling the space suit cut ups is also selling a presentation that includes a cut off from STS-86 flown insulation, and a cut off from "Authentic Li-900 insulation," as well as another display that's just Li-900 and nothing else for $23.

Note: Based on the size and their description of the material, I believe they just bought some of the souvenir tiles (3"x3"x1/4") that the KSCVC sells for $15, cut them into 12 small pieces, and slapped on a Challenger/Columbia memorial on the back. Not only is that tacky and disrespectful, but it's also very deceiving to consumers because they're paying more for less.


Thanks for the links. I'm sure you're right about the Li-900 source. I also agree that the memorial stuff on the back is pretty tacky, although that's just a matter of taste.

I'd still argue that the original unused material is already a smaller chunk of something larger so I couldn't care less if the person cuts it into smaller chunks.

Also, I'm not sure it's worth getting annoyed by the fact that someone's found a way of making money by buying a bargain few people are aware of then reselling the object for much more, in a more appealing package, on a public auction site. It's not deception, it's commerce. Most people are well aware that almost everything they buy cost the seller significantly less to acquire or produce than the sale price.

Spaceguy5
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posted 09-14-2012 01:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A $261 profit (not counting ebay fees and the cost of packaging) on something that costs $15 is disgustingly high though. In this case it's not the cutting up of the item that bothers me (as a very large quantity of those tiles were made) but rather the fact that it's pathetic that people are even cutting up cheap, mass produced items and trying to reap unrealistically high profits from them. It looks bad on our community.

Normally in retail, businesses buy items in bulk at a discounted rate from manufacturers, repackage them (if necessary), and are doing very good if they can double their money. Marking up x18.4 on the other hand is outrageous.

chet
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posted 09-14-2012 03:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spaceguy5:
A $261 profit (not counting ebay fees and the cost of packaging) on something that costs $15 is disgustingly high though...It looks bad on our community
First, I'd not jump to categorizing this seller as part of the space collecting community — sounds much more like just an eBay seller who's found a profitable niche to me. And as Chris pointed out, that's just commerce.

But using your parameters somewhat, if someone buys a house for $10,000 and then sees it's value skyrocket in a few years to $200,000, is it outrageous for that person to realize his/her 20-fold profit by selling? Or should he/she just sell way below market to avoid being labeled a scalper of some sort?

Also, is it at all the business of the buyers how much the seller originally paid for the house? What is it about a person engaging in non-deceptive commerce that so irks you?

SpaceAholic
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posted 09-14-2012 05:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
Destroying is a pretty loaded word

Parting/dismantlement of an artifact for sale is akin to its destruction

spaced out
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posted 09-14-2012 06:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kapton foil was ripped off the Apollo capsules immediately after their recovery then quickly torn and cut into smaller pieces. Does cutting one of these fragments into smaller pieces today equate to destroying it?

Underwood and others cut Apollo flown film into arbitrary pieces and sold them. Does cutting one of these pieces into smaller fragments today result in their destruction?

I'm all for preserving individual objects in an intact state but subdividing fragments that have never been part of a 'whole' doesn't seem to me to be a problem.

SpaceAholic
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posted 09-14-2012 07:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I support limited exceptions under circumstances in which an item is subject to further deterioration if left in its existing configuration/environment. To use your Kapton example, if the loose foil removal was necessary (and authorized) because its retention would either further damage the Command Module, inhibit its conservation or that of of the kapton itself then that might be one affirmative scenario. Additional subdivision - if not done principally to conserve the artifact - isn't consistent with that philosophy.

garymilgrom
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posted 09-14-2012 07:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
items of far less magnitude (such as ILC shuttle blanket material sample swatches, for crying out loud).

You've written over and over that folks should be free to do whatever they want and that others should not judge their conduct, but you get to decide which artifacts are important? That's not consistent.

As the owner of several space suit items and a donater to a local science museum, this booklet showing what the suits are made of would have been an excellent and educational accessory to a display of suit parts. It's a shame it has been destroyed. Yes destroyed, as the original booklet no longer exists.

spaced out
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posted 09-14-2012 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Presumably Gene Cernan and Buzz Aldrin should be on the blacklist as they've sold individual pages of flown documents?

Perhaps a fatwah should be declared and the space artifact taliban should liberate the items that remain in their possession?

SpaceAholic
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posted 09-14-2012 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Astronauts like the rest of us are human and can make judgement error's - neither their status or great achievements confer immunity against bad calls.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 09-14-2012 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Will people who subscribe to this code not buy Alan Bean's paintings because he cut up artifacts to include in them? Why not sell the paintings and donate the money to charity?

Will people boycott NASA because the space agency took flown shuttle tires, painted them white, and then allowed people to write on them with markers?

garymilgrom
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posted 09-14-2012 08:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaced out:
Presumably Gene Cernan and Buzz Aldrin should be on the blacklist as they've sold individual pages of flown documents

Before jumping to conclusions, Cernan's documents were sold intact and taken apart by others. I've talked to him about this. I'm not sure about Aldrin's but I bet it's the same situation.

Of course, as pointed out by many, anyone is free to do whatever they please with whatever they own. You can yell fire in a crowded theatre too - but that doesn't prove it's a smart or ethical thing to do.

spaced out
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posted 09-14-2012 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So the astronaut blacklist so far is Aldrin (manual pages), Cernan (manual pages), and Bean (flown patches). We should probably add Fred Haise for cutting up the wiring he pulled from Aquarius.

We can only hope that everyone who agrees with the black/white lists refuses on principal to buy anything from these infidels, sorry astronauts.

This would lead to lower prices for those of us collectors who don't see things in quite such an extreme black/white way.

garymilgrom
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posted 09-14-2012 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Will people boycott NASA because the space agency took flown shuttle tires, painted them white, and then allowed people to write on them with markers?

Not boycott NASA,that's not enough. I think we should cancel the entire American space program and de-orbit all existing satellites because of this grievous incident.

I don't understand the zeal with which the chopping up of artifacts is being defended.

All the "curators" are saying is that one should try and keep historical artifacts intact. Why does that make others so angry?

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 09-14-2012 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It doesn't make me angry, nor am I defender of anything, I'm just puzzled, that's all. Parachutes from capsules and netting from Apollo 13 (just to name two) were cut up for souvenirs — so why is it okay to have done that then, and not now? It is because those were given away and now they're being sold? If so, what should be done to the people, if anything, who bought cut up artifacts that were originally given away?

spaced out
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posted 09-14-2012 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Likewise I'm not zealously defending the cutting up of artifacts. I've always been very strongly against it in general but the extremes to which this approach is being advocated above amazes me.

Everyone knows that the kapton foil hanging in shreds from the Apollo capsules when they were brought on board the recovery ships was stripped off in vast quantities by those who could get close enough to do so.

It doesn't matter whether you agree with this or not. It was done 40 years ago and there's nothing we can do about that now.

The strips of foil that people took as souvenirs were torn and cut into smaller pieces and given to family and friends and maybe subdivided again over the years.

Some of these pieces were acquired by space collectors over the years and divided into smaller pieces to produce presentation certificates, lucites and covers.

I really don't see what historical importance we can attach to keeping 'intact' any one of these fragments of foil today. Maybe larger pieces have more aesthetic appeal but that's about it.

Likewise the Apollo flown film that Underwood and others cut up into fragments 40 years ago. If someone acquires one of these arbitrarily-sized cut pieces today and decides to cut it into smaller pieces for whatever reason I don't think any major harm has been done.

Things are not simply black and white so blindly applying a 'rule' that the cutting of any object is a crime is frankly ridiculous, which is what I was trying to highlight by my comments above.

In my personal opinion cutting up an intact flown strap is effectively destroying a historic artifact. I don't believe it should be done today in any circumstances, but at the same time I'm happy to own a piece of Apollo 14 lunar safety line or Apollo 13 couch fabric that resulted from NASA's decision to do so in the past.

In my personal opinion cutting a small fragment of kapton foil or flown film in two today does not count as destroying a historic artifact.

Splitting a flown manual to sell the pages individually to me falls in a grey area in between. Ideally I believe a document should be kept intact but I certainly don't think those who split such documents should be demonized.

chet
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posted 09-14-2012 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
Parting/dismantlement of an artifact for sale is akin to its destruction.
So say you. But others can disagree (can't we?)

When Linda Gordon made nearly perfect duplicate copies of at least one of her husband's Apollo 12 checklists, how was the original artifact "destroyed" by individual pages being sold off to collectors who really wanted them (and will likely cherish them) as top-quality legacy souvenirs?

Why wouldn't those duplicate copies suffice as legacies for future generations? And why is it a bad thing that there are now, in place of one intact flown checklist, dozens of happy collectors/now-curators admiring and safeguarding those individual checklist pages?

quote:
Originally posted by garymilgrom:
You've written over and over that folks should be free to do whatever they want and that others should not judge their conduct, but you get to decide which artifacts are important? That's not consistent.
You ARE free to call/judge that original swatch booklet an important artifact. I was merely voicing my opinion, of your opinion of it, as an example of an "ultra-preservation-philosophy" that is to my mind a bit extreme and unnecessary. My opinion actually decides and mandates nothing, nor am I calling for it to. I also agree with Chris that the resulting piece made up from those swatches is very nicely done, and is more indicative of someone respecting those materials than of simply trying to exploit them. Moreover, I personally think future generations can be better served by several of those in circulation than the original booklet that served as the supply material.

garymilgrom
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posted 09-14-2012 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaced out:
the extremes to which this approach is being advocated above amazes me.

In my opinion the choppers are the extremists. Calling astronauts infidels? Calling for a fatwah? These comments have no place in this or any civil discussion.

Regarding items (parachutes were mentioned) cut up at the time of the flights, perhaps we've gained an appreciation for the history these artifacts represent with 40 years of hindsight.

spaced out
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posted 09-14-2012 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gary, I'm sure you understand that my comments there were meant as a joke - showing how ridiculous it is to take the proposed anti-cutting blacklist rules to the extreme - just as I understand that your comment "I think we should cancel the entire American space program and de-orbit all existing satellites because of this grievous incident." is not meant seriously.

You seem determined to ignore all the posts above that carefully try to explain that many people feel there are some kinds of artifact (e.g. scraps of kapton foil or flown film) which do not need to be kept 'intact' for posterity.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-14-2012 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With regards to items that were cut apart by NASA — or any previous owner — and why their new owner should behave any differently, perhaps a lesson can be taken from the Smithsonian.

When the Smithsonian adds a new piece to their collection, regardless how it was handled prior to arriving at the museum, from the point it enters the building, it is treated with care and an eye toward preservation.

Case in point, here is a quote from the ceremony that saw the donation of the Buzz Lightyear action figure that flew on the space shuttle:

"I am wearing blue gloves," [John] Lasseter said, holding up his covered hands. "I don't have a problem, it's just that Buzz Lightyear is normally used to small sticky hands in life, but now that he's been in orbit and he's now a part of the Smithsonian, they have us wear gloves to play with him."
It doesn't matter that the astronauts who held the figure in space didn't wear gloves and it doesn't matter that before flying in space, the figure was literally a child's playtoy — the property of a Disney executive's son. Once it became Smithsonian property, it was an artifact to be treated accordingly.

So raising past examples of cutting apart artifacts should be irrelevant to this discussion because what is being debated is what happens in the future, not in the past.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ
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posted 09-14-2012 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK. But as Alan Bean continues to paint, and as he continues to ground up artifacts to include in his paintings, what does that mean going forward? To not buy any more of his paintings? What about pins containing flown metal from the shuttle or its components? Refuse them?

Not trying to be difficult. Just trying to understand.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-14-2012 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Again, its not about what others have done (even if done in the future); it is what you do with the piece once you have it in your possession.

If you buy an Alan Bean painting that contains cut up fragments of his flown patches, your response shouldn't be to then feel it is right (however legal it may be) to cut it apart. The idea is that once the item is in your hands, you become its conservator.

This is consistent with a whitelist, as the members would all be committed to being good conservators of the artifacts that they control, whether through ownership, consignment or donation.

chet
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From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 09-14-2012 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not wanting to mince words here, but once an item is in the hands of a purchaser, that person becomes the OWNER (and to my mind, and whether anyone else likes it or not), NOTHING ELSE.

The Smithsonian is a museum and preserver, and a buyer doesn't have to assume the duties of the Smithsonian.

Though I believe it would be wonderful if everyone took on the responsibilities of being good caretakers, there is NO OBLIGATION to do so. That's what REAL freedom is all about, and what I believe Ray was alluding to in the very first sentence of his post.

And if being a good conservator is what qualifies one for inclusion on the "white" list, I suppose I should be on it after all. I take very good care of all of my collection, though others may argue with that based on their own definitions of what constitutes being a "good" conservator. Would that be by, exclusively, keeping a mission flown checklist intact, or would making high-res scans of each page (where such didn't exist before), before distributing individual pages, also qualify? Both seem to reflect "good" and "responsible" caretaking, but what gets by as "good enough" for the "white" list, and perhaps most importantly, exactly who decides?

The length of this thread seems to indicate that the best (and most uncomplicated) way is simply leaving any and all decisions in the hands of the owner of any item, and take it from there. The desires of non-owners should simply not infringe in any way on the property rights of others. Any other "system" becomes fraught with difficulty and ultimately, in my opinion, peril.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3276
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-14-2012 10:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
The length of this thread seems to indicate that the best (and most uncomplicated) way is simply leaving any and all decisions in the hands of the owner of any item, and take it from there.

By inference then, you are stating that others have the ability to take decisions away from the owner. That isn't the case. I support the white list because it is a voluntary form of self compliance to an agreed upon set of ethical guidelines for the hobby which a majority of the collecting community can establish as a standard of practice. You may choose either to subscribe or not subscribe — if you elect to not participate, it doesn't alter the status quo with respect to your making decisions about YOUR property.

fredtrav
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From: Birmingham AL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 09-15-2012 12:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And a whitelist can also strengthen a person's property rights. It gives the owner of an artifact the right not to sell it to someone he believes will not take care of it and too sell it to someone who will.

In the end, it is your item and you can do with it what you will. If people don't like it they are free to criticize you for your stewardship. The right of free speech is as strong a right as that of personal property rights.

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 09-15-2012 04:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
By inference then, you are stating that others have the ability to take decisions away from the owner. That isn't the case.

No, it isn't YET the case.

In an earlier post in this thread, Scott, you yourself noted "it only takes amendment of 16 USC 470 (the National Historic Preservation Act) to expand protection to artifacts placed on a registry".

Such "protection" is tantamount to a pair of handcuffs on owners, removing from them a good deal of discretion pertaining to their property rights you now are saying are inviolable.

While I believe actually amending the act to include [space] artifacts is a long shot, that it can be suggested at all on these boards means collectors such as myself need to be vigilant and try to point out, to others whose minds perhaps aren't yet made up, the downsides and consequences of the kind of change you seem to have earlier advocated.

quote:
Originally posted by fredtrav:
A whitelist can also strengthen a persons property rights. It gives the owner of an artifact the right not to sell it to someone he believes will not take care of it and to sell it to someone who will.

A whitelist doesn't confer any right that doesn't already exist without the list.

As Greggy_D pointed out earlier in this thread, only in a non-auction sale can a seller directly control to whom an item is sold, so just a simple agreement between two parties is enough to establish an understanding as to what special conditions need to be in place to consummate a sale.

For the reasons above I find a "whitelist" to be therefore only so much public posturing, but I certainly have no objection to it and think it's fine if enough people want to establish one. I completely agree the right of free speech is most certainly no less important than property rights.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2583
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-15-2012 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not to beat a dead horse, but this sounds to me like this: NASA has two flown tires, gives one to me. I can't cut it up and sell it if I subscribe to this concept but NASA is allowed to paint theirs white and allow people to draw on it with markers? Meanwhile, people make me feel bad if I decide to cut it up and sell it but are OK with NASA defacing their artifact?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-15-2012 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Again, you are trying to compare what others are doing rather than what you are doing. That's not the point. The point is to encourage — not force or mandate — individuals to take responsibility to protect the integrity of their items, regardless of what anyone else is doing.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-15-2012 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
Though I believe it would be wonderful if everyone took on the responsibilities of being good caretakers, there is NO OBLIGATION to do so.
A whitelist doesn't obligate anyone to do anything. The only penalty for violating the agreed terms of a whitelist is being dropped off the whitelist.

The encouragement to remain listed is whatever benefits the whitelist offers, even if it is only a sense of community.

quote:
And if being a good conservator is what qualifies one for inclusion on the "white" list, I suppose I should be on it after all.
If/when this should proceed, the whitelist would clearly define the terms of membership — the agreed upon principles.

It could be as simple as a statement that the undersigned agree to not further segment the space artifacts and memorabilia within their possession, regardless if that possession is by purchase, consignment or donation.

quote:
Both seem to reflect "good" and "responsible" caretaking, but what gets by as "good enough" for the "white" list, and perhaps most importantly, exactly who decides?
The community desiring the whitelist decides, through discussions such as this one. The whitelist will reflect the community consensus.

A whitelist is only effective if its membership roll is significant, so it is within the community's interest to make it as inclusive as possible, without violating the basic tenets of why it exists.

As an aside, you've introduced a fallacy into the discussion. A replica, whether it is a high-resolution copy or a clone, is not a substitute for an artifact.

For example, no matter how high a quality reproduction the National Archives can produce, there is no substitute for the original Constitution or Declaration of Independence.

So regardless of how attractive and desirable the Apollo 12 replica checklists were (and they were excellent), they are not equivalent to the original artifact.

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 09-15-2012 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since I think I already pretty well understand the vagaries of a "whitelist" (in the context of the discussion about it here), let's also be clear about what it is not.

Since the "whitelist" will not confer any special or additional rights which don't already exist, and since instruction sites as to how to properly care for historic artifacts already abound (see the Kansas Historical Foundation for example), the whitelist will not serve any other function but for its signators to be able to publicly trumpet their preference for one set of "principles" over others. As such it is preferable to a "blacklist", certainly, but in form and function it actually serves no purpose other than pronouncement. As it would be somewhat inocuous, I'd not object to the establishment of a "whitelist", but let's all understand it for the type of grandstanding maneuver it would, in all actuality, be.

(A list of all cS members who wish to declare their distaste for meatloaf would probably be just about as useful).

quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
As an aside, you've introduced a fallacy into the discussion. A replica, whether it is a high-resolution copy or a clone, is not a substitute for an artifact.

In many cases it most certainly is. Museum displays abound with replicas.

What some here have been clamoring for is the preservation of the legacy of our space programs for future generations, and I concur. For that purpose replicas of some materials are perfectly functional substitutes to accomplish that end. I'm well aware of the difference between a copy of the Declaration of Independence, for example, and the true article, but let's not begin to mix apples and oranges.

In my view, not every checklist that flew aboard a lunar mission has the same historical significance as, for example, the Apollo 11 LM Timeline manual. That some here disagree with me is fine, as long as it doesn't go beyond mere disagreement. There's a big difference between establishing an innocuous (though NOT harmless) "whitelist" that talks about mere guidelines (i.e. preferences), and a declaration that makes definitive pronouncements about what practices constitute ethical space collecting standards, and which ones don't.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-15-2012 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
Since the "whitelist" will not confer any special or additional rights which don't already exist...
If a dealer or auction house, charity or collector decides to only do business with those on the whitelist — which is perfectly within their rights — then that would be a perk for those on the list.

If a museum decides to offer a special behind-the-scenes tour or preservation class only to the members of the list, that would be a perk for membership.

Those are just two examples, I can think of others that are possible...

quote:
Museum displays abound with replicas.
Which doesn't make the replicas artifacts themselves, nor does it suggest that the museums wouldn't desire the authentic item over the replica.


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