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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 2 July 28, 2008     

Founders’ Wing to showcase EAA history
By Barbara A. Schmitz

Supporters of the new Founders’ Wing in the EAA AirVenture Museum placed the first bricks Sunday and kicked off the fundraising campaign. Photo by Phil Weston

Other people are called packrats when they refuse to throw anything out. But EAA founder Paul Poberezny is being hailed a historian.

For decades, Poberezny and his wife, Audrey, kept everything related to the beginning of the sport aviation association in their home, basement, garages and rafters. But that memorabilia is about to get a new, permanent home.

The Founders’ Wing in the EAA AirVenture Museum is designed to preserve EAA’s beginnings through an exhibit and a library. It is meant to showcase a collection that will hold the history of EAA in archived letters, pictures, artifacts, media clippings, and much more.

The new exhibit area should be complete by AirVenture 2009.

Poberezny said the most special things in the exhibit will include the first desk Audrey had (their kitchen table) as well as her first typewriter. But as he’s gone through some of the old correspondence, it has also reminded him of how EAA has impacted so many people. "There were a lot of people who believed in what I was doing," he said. "I have file cabinets filled with letters, even letters from famous people like Anne Lindbergh, Scott Crossfield, Jimmy Doolittle…. There were so many supporters."

In a ceremony Sunday, the first supporters of the project placed a brick on the Founders’ Wing Wall and officially launched the project’s fundraising campaign. Poberezny placed the first brick in his and Audrey’s name.

"The opportunity to help enable one man’s dreams and a lifetime of memorabilia to be permanently displayed and accessible to all our members is an opportunity I did not want to miss," said Fred Telling, who also placed a brick.

Telling said the idea for the exhibit came from the board of directors, who wanted to make the extensive collection more accessible to members. The concept evolved for two or three years, and took a number of twists and turns, before it was finalized.

But some things were always certain. "We wanted it to be in the museum, and not a standalone building," Telling said. "We wanted an element of it to recapture the original basement office. And we wanted a special members’ area where they could view artifacts and letters."

Telling said people will be able to access old videos of the fly-in convention. "It will help people recapture the days of Rockford or early Oshkosh," he said. "It will help to recapture the magic and innocence of early EAA."

Dan and Cate Majka placed a brick, and said there was a need to preserve the association’s history for today’s youth in a place that was easily accessible.

Majka said he had seen most of the items when he went to Paul’s home and the sheer number of things is impressive. "It’s similar to the first time someone goes to AirVenture. It’s sensory overload."

If you’d like to contribute financially to the Founders’ Wall, you can do so in the EAA Welcome Center, the EAA AirVenture Museum, or online at www.EAA.org.

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