The following is an online exhibition of materials that represent the proud history of Air America during the Vietnam War.
(Copyright The Air America Association. "Fair use" criteria of Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 must be followed. These materials are not to be used for resale or commercial purposes without written authorization from the Air America Association and/or the owners of these materials. Appropriate attributions for exhibit materials are provided.)
Why Create a Virtual Museum for Air America
by Allen Cates
The Air America Association established a legacy by encouraging members to donate their documents to the newly decorated History of Aviation Archive inside the Eugene McDermott Library at the University of Texas at Dallas in Dallas, Texas and the Vietnam Center & Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
The archives are not museums, although both have a few items and the HAC collections entrance contains several paintings and a few artifacts that are worth seeing.
The Association members have longed for a museum that accurately describes the history of Air America with physical objects. Suggestions to join the Museum of Flight in Dallas, The Experimental Aircraft Association and the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio have merit, but Air America is minuscule in the sea of other exhibits, and we lose identity. A brick and mortar facility exclusive to Air America is out of the question for a variety of reasons. We don't have any aircraft to display, and the cost for such a museum along with liability insurance and maintenance is cost prohibitive.
However, virtual museums are popular, and there are several. The Naval Aviation Museum, Air Force Flight Test Museum-Blackbird Airpark, San Diego Air & Space Museum, Gillespie Field Annex-SDASM, and the Lauridsen Aviation Museum are good examples.
Virtual museums can't replace looking at the real thing, but where brick and mortar museums attract thousands, a virtual museum can attract millions from your home computer.
That doesn't mean they are easy to implement because it takes expertise and long hours. The Association approached Steve Maxner with TTU and asked him if he could do it for us. It is a work in progress, but right now today the Association has a virtual museum on our website and its very attractive.
The Association invites everybody to look at it, make suggestions, and add appropriate pictures to improve what we have so far. It will take time, but eventually, we will have a virtual museum that belongs to the members that all of us can be proud to show anybody.
Review by Martha Gregory Tulsa, Oklahoma (Coordinator Research Wizard Service Tulsa City-County Library, Professional Researcher, Consultant, Author, Special Library Association, BS U of Tulsa, Masters OSU) "This is just an amazing website. You and your colleagues have done and are doing a masterful job. The advantage of this kind of museum is that it allows for endless visits and leisure time to study, think, and learn over time so that you get a much better understanding than if you simply traveled to a physical place and had only a short time there. The mix of interviews, films, photos, text and narrative makes a perfect presentation. I have made an overpass and dipped into each section enough to know that I want to explore every aspect. I think what already impresses me most about it is the scope of Air America operations. I really had no idea and [had] a very limited vision of it. It was way more than just a ‘post’. Thanks for sharing this with me. I am looking forward to my future visits to the Air America ‘museum’!”
The Air America Association encourages reviews, recommendations and/or requests for changes. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.