Greetings to all my Seaboard friends. I am disappointed not to be with you tonight, and wish you all a joyous reunion. Ironically, it is a meeting with museum officials on Monday and Tuesday that prevents my being in Charleston today.
There is very little new to report since my detailed accounting to the membership back in October 2008, which, by the way, can still be found on the SPAR web site. In it I carefully explain the purpose of the collections, and plans for their ultimate disposition. Meanwhile, I have been presented with a few contributions - most notably a nice group of items sent to me by Joan Volkman shortly after last year's reunion. Additionally, I have bought a few things on eBay that were previously missing in our archives. These have been relatively inexpensive purchases, and were bought using my own funds.
In quick review, the primary pieces have all been deposited in the Smithsonian's major aviation collections; secondary artifacts (and by that I mean duplicates or items of minimal historical importance such as models and marketing give-aways) are, for the most part, on display in FedEx's Air Operations Center in Memphis. These, too, will ultimately be turned over to an appropriate institution.
And that brings me to the most important topic of concern: namely, what will become of this material once all of us have departed the scene? It is a subject that has consumed several hours of discussions with our webmaster and my good friend and colleague, Kenny Kahn, and with our president, Lou Furlong. It is my understanding that Ken will be addressing you shortly, and certainly he, better than I, can acquaint you with the important considerations that are under review for the ultimate preservation of Seaboard's history.
His concerns for the long-term management of the website, over which he has labored these untold hundreds - perhaps thousands of hours, precisely parallel my own as regard the archives. Together they constitute virtually everything of importance that will ever be known or recorded regarding Seaboard's significant contributions to the development of commercial aviation. We both continue to strive to make this record as comprehensive and accurate as possible.
The job Ken has assigned to me (and beats on me almost monthly to bring to fruition) is the selection of the most promising repository for these materials, one wherein the following minimum guarantees can be made:
1) A commitment to permanently host the historical website.
2) A commitment to preserve and protect the photographs and other archived materials according to the highest curatorial standards.
3) A commitment to sharing these documents and artifacts with qualified historians and researchers while taking adequate precautions regarding security.
4) And lastly, with the continued development of Internet/video technologies, a commitment to make the viewing of the video accessible via the Internet.
These points will be confirmed in a formal contract that will mandate that these commitments be made in perpetuity. The most likely candidates for such a partnership are major aviation museums, and universities with a long-established aviation studies department.
I look forward to reporting to you on the progress of any serious negotiations, and eventually our selection. And I thank you for your continued cooperation and support.
Capt. David O. Hill
SPAR Historian & Archivist
March 25, 2010