Message from the President

Growing Pains

It occurred to me recently that growth often comes at the expense of comfort. We need to step out of our zone of comfort to explore new possibilities, to seek out rewarding opportunities, and to meet new challenges. 


This type of situation describes where we are now at the museum. We are currently facing one of our greatest challenges to date, a challenge that promises a huge return on our investment of time and money. It is the type of challenge which will define us in the years to come, and which will strengthen our connection to community and to history. But there is yet some heavy lifting to be done.


As is well known by now, we will be moving to a new museum by the end of 2024. This is a situation where much needed growth and expansion is driving us to seek out solutions to questions we have not been asked before. There is excitement in the air. The museum is buzzing with activity, as people meet to coordinate the move and all that comes with transferring our collection to the new facility. 


Will we be creating a new exhibition in the New Museum? Yes! Will there be activities for school groups and children? Yes! Simulators and night vision room?? Yes and Yes! And so much more! You will be thrilled!

We are all gripped by the excitement for this shiny new adventure, while still working hard to maintain an active presence in the community. We will even be adding a few new events this year for good measure. 

The museum team is expanding exponentially, and we are bubbling over with enthusiasm for the new

projects that will lead us to our new home. I cannot be prouder of the work we have accomplished so far, and of those volunteers and staff who work tirelessly to make our dreams come true. There are still so many questions to be answered, money to be raised, plans to be decided. Getting to where we want to be will require conquering a few more hurdles.  

Stay tuned!

Barry Meldrum

Executive Director

Observations From the Museum! Did you know…?

Barry Meldrum-Executive Director

A picture is worth a thousand words!  

We all know this saying. It has become very much a cliché when describing the power of an image, or for advertising purposes as it was originally coined. However, photographs are essential in everyday operations of museums and galleries. They are used to maintain database records of objects within the collection. We use them as condition records, insurance records, proof of title, exhibition research, loan agreements, advertising, and so much more.

But one of the fun things about having a photographer around when documenting objects from the collection is the potential to learn more about that object. This time was no exception! 

The photo shows photographer Ric Colgan handling a set of PBY beaching gear from our exhibition. The inscription on the wall indicates that this particular set – which includes the smaller set for the rear fuselage- was manufactured in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Canadian Air Force. 

Personally, I never doubted it. However, with the unbiased perspective of the photo lens, we were able to discover an error in that text panel notation. Nearly indistinguishable from the years of corrosion and handling, the affixed label clearly indicated it had been manufactured by Vickers Canada, for the RCAF, in 1943. I quickly became excited, because I knew the significance of that little serial number plate. 

Vickers Canada, during WWII, was a Canadian plant very much implemented in the manufacture of aircraft, among other things, used for the war effort.1

Having grown up in Montreal, Quebec, and adding to the fact my grandfather retired from Canadair (which was formerly known as Vickers), I recognized that this set of beaching gear was made in Ville Saint-Laurent, Quebec, and not in B.C., as cited. Certainly, a small nuance for the casual observer, but an important point to understand, when discussing aircraft production in WWII. 

Special thanks to Ric Colgan for his photography of our vast collections, and for his ongoing work with the interview

series “In Their Words”. Many people at the luncheon appreciated Ric’s work on the Fly-Thru for the new museum exhibition.

1Canadian Aviation and Space Museum; “Vickers to Bombardier”

I am so excited about the coming months.  Our new museum building is taking shape and we are in anticipation of the move by next Spring.  It is going to be a big project to get all of the exhibits in the new building and also have much more useful space.  We are advertising for people to contribute through an Impact 25 campaign for naming rights to the different rooms, a flag plaza with benches, blocks and bricks with names of beloved service members and units. 

Coming up on May 11 will be the Celebration of Flight dinner and that is always a special event with many auction items and especially the desserts.

This year the Pacific Northwest Naval Air Museum will be sponsoring Oak Harbor’s Memorial Day Service of Remembrance ceremony on Monday, May 27.