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  Do we have an obligation?

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Author Topic:   Do we have an obligation?
mensax
Member

Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 07-22-2005 03:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do we have any obligations with regard to owning space collectables? Or, are they ours to do with as we please?

If we buy an item do we have the right to hide them away, to let them decay, or even tear them up if we wish? Or are we caretakers of these artifacts?

It's my opinion that there are responsibilities that come with owning a space collection and I'd be interested in knowing how others feel about it.

I think we should take every step to see to it that our items are preserved as well as possible.

I think we should do everything we can to document the provenance of an item and to seek every avenue to increase it's proof of authenticity.

I think we should display our collections as much as possible, whether they be in public locations or on a website... these museum pieces should be shared by all, not locked away in a basement or vault.

I think we should use our pieces to educate and inspire others to get interested in space.

Am I just nuts?

Noah


Rob Sumowski
Member

Posts: 464
From: Macon, Georgia
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 07-22-2005 05:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Sumowski   Click Here to Email Rob Sumowski     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Noah:

Yours is a meaningful post. And you are not nuts. I feel strongly that in a way as time passes we will become "keepers of the flame:" Keepers of the history. I feel a strong responsibility to perpetuate and share the history (and I don't collect items that were flown or an acual part of the history, rather I own signed items that chronicle that history).

In a short-sighted view, I guess one might argue that our items are our property to dispose of as we wish, but there is a bigger picture.

The signings that have happened over the past years have caused an exponential increase in the existence of signed items, so-from a historical standpoint- there are more items out there, which is a good thing for history (if not for current monetary value).

But just like baseball cards, letters, documents, and the like, many of our collections will be tossed away by subsequent generations who will not see the value we see in them. Think of all the important letters and documents that existed just after the Civil War that are now dust at the bottom of landfills. How many incredible stories and anecdotes have been lost? Therefore, 100 years from now there will be many, many less items that had direct contact with the astronauts in existence as direct documentation of the history.

I take an attitude of preservation, protection, sharing, and education. I think we do have some responsibility.

Rob

HouseDadX4
unregistered
posted 07-22-2005 08:42 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think this topic was discussed in an another article called, "Display, or Hide Away" which is under the "Opinions and Advice" column, but I do agree that the collections should be displayed and used to educate.

I spent 3 years selling NASCAR collectibles and before that was a collector myself. I use to think, wow, cool collection, but once I started selling them, my attitude changed. It went from a personal sense to a business sense even to the point that I included my own collection in what I sold. It only took a year or two from the time I started collecting to the time that I started selling NASCAR collectibles.

But being a collector of space program items has been an amazing and a completely different experience. I could never look at this from a business standpoint. Even as a collector, I never held the pride in the NASCAR stuff that I now hold in the collection of space memorabilia that I have. Yes, some of my things are in binders, but I am in awe each time I open them to add or look at patches, or look at photos, or meet astronauts. Some of my items are behind glass in a large curio cabinet for all to view and I am in the process of creating a website to show off what I have. There are some things such as press kits and posters that I have boxed but that's only because of the limited space I have to keep everything, but I do keep this stuff meticulously neat and well preserved. Until 3 or 4 years ago, I only had a small handful of NASA fact sheets that were stuck away in a book at my parent's home. They are now with me and open all the time.

I am proud to show off my collection. I use it to educate and am happy to sit and talk with anyone a great length about any piece. I have even become part of the Challenger Learning Center program that is gearing up here in Oklahoma City. I have already done a couple of presentations to scouts and to my son's school. The school asked me to come back and do another presentation next year. I too have become quite educated from my own collection, not to mention the expertise of many people on these Collectspace boards.

The young people of today cannot learn if the materials that are at our fingertips are locked away in some vault. It's not about money, it's about education and better teaching the future leaders of our generation.

[This message has been edited by HouseDadX4 (edited July 22, 2005).]

Duke Of URL
Member

Posts: 1301
From: Syracuse, NY, USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 07-22-2005 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Sumowski:
And you are not nuts.

I think you should slow your roll here. The gentleman might very well be nuts.

But his post did make sense.

Spacepsycho
Member

Posts: 711
From: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 07-22-2005 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Noah,

Rob & House Dad are right on the button. As Jim Morrison said about life, "No one get's out alive" and if you do collect any type of historical artifacts, all you are is the interim caretaker and preserver of that historical item.

Eventhough the artifacts belong to the individual, there must be a responsibility to preserve history for generations to come. How many times have we seen museums that have allowed rare artifacts to be destroyed by neglect or because they don't have room for them. INHO, the private collector in most cases, takes better care of their items than the museum because it's looked at as an investment, besides a historical artifact.

I bought an incredible collection of rare Civil War documents from a woman who said if I didn't show up, she'd put them in the garbage.

A year after Clinton was elected, he ordered all of the US military armory's to destroy ALL of their historical firearms. ALL of the 1898 Krags, 1903's, 1917's, 1921/27 Thompson 45's, Garands, M1 Carbines, plus all of the WW1 & WW2 shotguns were destroyed by direct order. As a result, hundreds of thousands of very rare, very collectible and very historical artfacts were ground up because he hates guns.

A friend of mine drove past a house in San Diego where a woman was throwing out dozens of boxes that belonged to her father. She didn't want any of his stuff because she made so much money from the sale of the house and she needed it empty ASAP. It turns out he was a Naval academy grad in 1938, he fought in the Pacific, Korea, Lebanon and Vietnam and he retired a rear admiral. EVERYTHING he owned was in these boxes from his medals, uniforms, USN commission sword from 1938 and much more. She gave my friend this collection for free because she said she didn't care about this stuff. Imagine that, your father is a real hero of this country and you're throwing away all of his most prized possessions. It took him 4 trips with a full sized pickup truck to get everything home.

With all the cutbacks in school programs, it's now more important than ever to share historical artifacts with kids, so they can see the incredible achievements of generations before.

The only point I disagree with is House Dads comment that the value doesn't matter. These artifacts are expensive, those who collect historical artifacts, want the value to increase because it's part of the estate to pass to our kids. The value isn't the most important part of owning rare artifacts, but it is important. The collectors who are paying $155,000 for a lunar flown checklist are praying that it will go up in value, as are most of the people who have collections.

Unfortunately there's many more rare historical artifacts out there, than there is room in museums to display them. Display space in any decent museum is at a premium, there's a real art in setting up displays for the public to enjoy so they don't go blind after an hour. All too often I'll see people walking through museums giving a rare artifact a cursory glance because their bored or overwhelmed.

When I first got the Lunar Orbiter in March 2004, I called or emailed dozens of museums from the USS Intrepid, USS Hornet, Cradle of Aviation, Museum of Flight, Dayton, Armstrong, Pima, KC Cosmosphere and many more. The only museum that was interested was the San Diego Aerospace museum, it's not like curators are lining up to display it, eventhough I was loaning it for free.

Regardless, if you collect rare artifacts of any kind, it's absolutely vital that you protect it, you share it with people and get them inspired by the genius of the past. It's the only way to guarantee the genius of the future.

Ray Katz
Member

Posts: 144
From:
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 07-22-2005 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ray Katz   Click Here to Email Ray Katz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've thought that it would be useful if there was a website for preserving digital copies of original space-related documents that are in the hands of private collectors. I have several one of a kind documents that might be important. I'm sure many of us do.

Such a website would be useful for historians even if future generations fail to preserve the documents we ourselves are trying to preserve.

[This message has been edited by Ray Katz (edited July 22, 2005).]

nasamad
Member

Posts: 1890
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 07-22-2005 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I'm with you on that Ray, I have a couple of nice paper items that should really be shared, but have found that when I have shared PDF files on my own site, that the amount of downloads takes me over my bandwidth limit and my site goes down (or I get charged).

I wish there was a place we could all share items and not be limited by bandwidth as I have around 11GB of Mercury to Skylab PDF files sitting on my PC.

Adam

HouseDadX4
unregistered
posted 07-22-2005 07:07 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spacepsycho:

The only point I disagree with is House Dads comment that the value doesn't matter. These artifacts are expensive, those who collect historical artifacts, want the value to increase because it's part of the estate to pass to our kids. The value isn't the most important part of owning rare artifacts, but it is important. The collectors who are paying $155,000 for a lunar flown checklist are praying that it will go up in value, as are most of the people who have collections.


Ok..going back and looking at my posting, I can see where I may have been understood. Yes, this stuff can get expensive and I most certainly can understand where people do hope that it does increase in value so that it can be passed to the next generation as part of an estate, especially when they do purchase high dollar items. I will pass mine on in my family and I want it to be valuable as well. But to me, I feel the education portion of it is so much more important. I guess I should've have said, "it's not just about money". Unfortunately, there are those that think that way and just stash it away believing that they'll be rich someday from it and not share it with others. In my opinion, to do that is wrong. As I said, collections such as these are wonderful things to be able to pass on as part of an estate to our younger generations, but it's even more valuable when the knowledge about them is shared with others as well.

[This message has been edited by HouseDadX4 (edited July 22, 2005).]

HouseDadX4
unregistered
posted 07-22-2005 07:12 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And I added 7 more photos to my collection today..The individual portraits of the Return to Flight crew...more to show off!!!

[This message has been edited by HouseDadX4 (edited July 22, 2005).]

kyra
Member

Posts: 507
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 07-22-2005 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi all,

This post hit an area near and dear to me.
I like Ray and Adam's idea for original documentation on a website !
So many times I see a flown checklist go into a private collection never to be seen again !. And I'm saying did anyone photocopy it or scan it first ? To me a .pdf of such a document is nearly as valuable as the real thing. The .pdfs may well outlast the paper.

Could Robert set up a category for .pdfs of the week in which we could submit and grab documents ? Eg) Document of the week "Apollo Lunar Surface Checklist" or "Gene Cernan's Gemini 9 notebook", etc. courtesy SpaceKid. Eventually it could be document of the day. It would encourage visits !

What better way to preserve a document than to have hundreds of copies on computers and printed out, etc !

I have Valentina Tereshkova's inflight notebook I would like to submit.
I have a copy of the entire flown STS-1 Flight Data File (3000 pages +)complete with joke pages and John Young and Robert Crippens notes, doodles, checks, and numbers. STS-6 as well. Most of this is on microfiche.
The only question is how to get it into a .pdf . I have a good scanner for paper materials.

There are excellent sites with great .pdfs out there. So I encourage all interested to burn CD's of them, and spread them around.

I might offend here but to own documentation such as a flown checklist and not wish to make a copy public is a bit greedy. Notice I said wish, as in some cases we just don't have the equipment. Time is another story as you can scan nowadays 300 pages in an evening while doing other things. Making phone calls, listening to music, watching TV.

Please folks, this is a cause I feel is important, and I'm willing to invest my time and effort. I don't have the money for Adobe Page Maker, but I will find a way !

All the Best,

Kyra

Rob Sumowski
Member

Posts: 464
From: Macon, Georgia
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 07-22-2005 11:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Sumowski   Click Here to Email Rob Sumowski     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ray and Kyra are right on the mark. We can help with preservation through the creation of a repository of high res digital scans of pieces of possible historical significance. We must do this.

If Robert can host, that would be great. If not, perhaps Kipp Teague, who actively runs the Project Apollo Archive would be interested. He's really historically oriented and might appreciate this. If you have not yet been there, then check it out now at http://www.apolloarchive.com/

Once you get there, click on the Project Apollo Image Gallery and you'll see more high res scans than you can get absolutely anywhere- and for free. Davide DeMartin (from Italy-Farthestshots.com) also has a fine site called spacearchive.net.

Let's do it.


Rob

heng44
Member

Posts: 2564
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 07-23-2005 06:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Sumowski:
We can help with preservation through the creation of a repository of high res digital scans of pieces of possible historical significance.

Rob


Rob, you can see on Kipp's site and on Davide's site that I have been doing just that for the past few years. I am scanning my complete photo collection and making the scans available through these two site. I urge others who can make a contribution to do the same.

Ed Hengeveld

kyra
Member

Posts: 507
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 07-23-2005 11:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wanted to add the best site I have found with regard to documentation: http://www.geocities.com/bobandrepont/spacepdf.htm

If anyone has documents posted on a site that are not included please e-mail Bob and let him know. He is a very nice and dedicated person that has built this space document super-site over the last few years, spending countless hours scouring the NASA Technical Reports Server. He deserves some sort of award or recognition !

It may be wise to burn these to several dozen CD's as even the NASA servers and sites get "on the fritz" from time to time and sometimes disappear altogether.

My personal collection includes many of these documents merged with ones provided from some from World Spaceflight News.

I have "adopted" several key areas for becoming a keeper/archivist for documents:
1)Vostok/Voskhod
2)Gemini
3)STS (with focus on Flight Data File)

(That's why my lament had gone out about the loss of my GT-10 Flight Plan in a flood some years ago, and why I switched to electronic collecting ! I will get a new copy someday

A salute to all of you who are preserving space heritage in some way !

Kyra

randy
Member

Posts: 1287
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 07-23-2005 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree. I think it's our responsibility to share our collections with the public at large. Yes, we are 'keepers of the flame' and we need to keep the fire going by sharing what we have. I've found that people in general are still interested in space exploration, but they just need a little nudge to keep their interest going and we're the people who can do just that.

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 07-31-2005 03:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What do we think about significant space flown items being cut up into mass-market "presentations?"
Kapton foil is one thing, as it never constitutes a single item as such, but we've all seen LM-flown netting, flown straps, cables etc cut into tiny pieces. Surely if we "have an obligation" it is also to preserve such items intact?

Paul Bramley

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