midman

AACA Museum & AACA, What is Going On

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Last night while having our family Christmas dinner the Library/AACA Relationship became a rather hot topic at the table. My three sons who are all fine young men with families of their own decided to purchase a brick at the museum as a Christmas present for me. The brick was honoring what I felt was my greatest accomplishment in the hobby was being awarded a Bomgardner Award for my 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne at the 2008 Annual Meeting. I have had a pretty good life and have been pretty successful, and if I ever need something I just get it, but this would be something I would never get for myself so I guess I am a rather hard person to get a gift for. (although I would not mind a box of Nat Sherman Hamilton cigars under the tree, but my wife won't allow my sons to "destroy my health") I am also lucky to have three sons who think that much of me and knew that that brick would mean so much to me over the years

 

This thought was inspired this past year at Hershey as part of our annual Hershey tradition when my older son and i look for the bricks that were purchased for my Father after he passed away, by us and a few of the region's he had belonged to. At that time I had made a comment to my son that it is a shame that we wait until someone passes away before we honor them with such a gift and they never get to see it or appreciate it. I guess that comment struck a chord and the wheels started turning and they came up with this idea, which is was really great.

 

So the question was asked of me last night over dessert, "dad because of what is going on do you still want us to proceed with this brick purchase?"  Other then wishing they had spent their hard earned money on something they needed for themselves, what could I say...... They expressed that they were a little upset that they wanted something to present to me at Christmas from the Museum that the gift was ordered but they were given nothing, even though they requested it and felt there adequate time for the museum to do so. The only suggestion I could make other then writing a letter to the Museum BOD pointing out the purchase of the brick, the reasons why, and urging them that in the long run it is in everyone's best interest that this gets resolved and everything is as one. I really did not have an answer, as wife reminded me that I was going to make a donation to the museum as of two days ago I just was not sure of the amount we were going to donate this year because of all this mess, but I was still going to write a check regardless. Part of my delay on making my annual donation this year is on the back of the donation envelope it clearly says in bold print:

"Thank you or your support of the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum"

To be very honest this really ticks me off! It might be an oversight, but I feel this comment is very misleading and dishonest, and I am going to presume that this was an oversight, and a letter with my donation will be included informing them of how I feel about how they are representing themselves. Over the past 15 pages of posts I had mentioned this three times but it got lost in the shuffle of emotions this topic has generated'

 

I would also like to thank ALL of the BOD Members of the AACA for their efforts and energy trying to look out for the club not for just now but for the future so we can survive. Not just for this matter but all matters that the club is involved. Some of the comments posted here by members I felt were pretty disrespectful, and it seems like some have forgotten that thee members decided to donate their time and own money because they feel very passionate about our organization. Having served on the Board of Directors for the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (and returning again now) I realize that the all clubs are a non profit business and for a club to be successful it has to be a club for the members and the business has to go on int the background for members to enjoy the club as just that a CLUB  once the business gets out on the floor it can become an argument. I am not saying things should not be more transparent, but it does not have to be out in front all of the time.  While negotiations are involved with all parties involving legal advise throwing stuff all over the internet might not be in the clubs best interest 

I also suggest that those who feel they want too, and need too contribute their ideas and opinions about the management of our club should contact the BOD and ask to be involved on a committee where these skills can be used. From time to time I have seen this request printed in our magazine

 

To be very honest I had always felt that the museum was "ours."  The fact that it the AACA's name is attached to it, the success of the Museum is even more important because any failure would be considered the AACA's failure, considering it wears our name and we don't have any control over it is scary.

 

When you go to the Museum, please don't step on my brick! 

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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To Jim Samuel and others having similar thoughts about not continuing your membership in the AACA (and/or museum), I strongly urge you to reconsider.  Yes, the club and the museum are knocking heads and we don't know yet what the final outcome will be--whether the divide is too large and they go their separate ways, or whether an acceptable resolution can be reached and both organizations come together--but the purpose of the AACA remains the same:  to share our love of antique/classic vehicles, to preserve and enjoy these vehicles and the history or the automobile, and to gather with others who share this passion whether it be to restore old cars, show old cars, drive and go on tours with old cars, or even just to view & enjoy them.  Since you've already renewed for 2017, you have a year to think this over.  I hope during that time your initial displeasure dissipates (and, who know, maybe the issue will be resolved by then) and you renew your membership.  Each member brings something different to the club.  I'd like to have the opportunity to learn from and about you, whether in person or even just through friendly exchanges on different topics in the Forum.

 

Best wishes to all for 2017!

 

 

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7 hours ago, Mark McAlpine said:

To Jim Samuel and others having similar thoughts about not continuing your membership in the AACA (and/or museum), I strongly urge you to reconsider.  Yes, the club and the museum are knocking heads and we don't know yet what the final outcome will be--whether the divide is too large and they go their separate ways, or whether an acceptable resolution can be reached and both organizations come together--but the purpose of the AACA remains the same:  to share our love of antique/classic vehicles, to preserve and enjoy these vehicles and the history or the automobile, and to gather with others who share this passion whether it be to restore old cars, show old cars, drive and go on tours with old cars, or even just to view & enjoy them.  Since you've already renewed for 2017, you have a year to think this over.  I hope during that time your initial displeasure dissipates (and, who know, maybe the issue will be resolved by then) and you renew your membership.  Each member brings something different to the club.  I'd like to have the opportunity to learn from and about you, whether in person or even just through friendly exchanges on different topics in the Forum.

 

Best wishes to all for 2017!

 

 

Agree with you Mark and would remind everyone that The AACA Hershey Fall Meet, the biggest Car Show in the World, requires that to enter you must have an AACA Club Membership the year of the Show.  You wouldn't  want to miss this event, ever. 

Edited by Doug Novak
correction to reuirements (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Mark McAlpine said:

 To Jim Samuel and others having similar thoughts about not continuing your membership in the AACA (and/or museum), I strongly urge you to reconsider. 

 

Mark,

 

Thanks for the message. I do not have a collector car now, so I have no interest in entering a car in the fall meet. I do enjoy antique and classic cars and still enjoy the hobby by attending shows, reading about cars and going to museums. 

When I first joined AACA in December 2015 for the 2016 calendar year, I did so because I thought the club and museum were one and the same. I saw nothing in any of the membership materials to indicate other wise. When I go the mailing to renew my membership for 2017, there was nothing in those mailings to indicate that the two organizations we not the same, not that there was a rift between the two groups. It was not until I got the letter announcing the split that I was aware that they were separate organizations.

 

I really feel as if I was misled by AACA about the relationship, and wonder if the AACA board deliberately held off on any mention of the split until after most people had already renewed.

 

The bottom line is that I do not trust the board of the AACA or the museum. That's why I regret having renewed my membership for 2017 and that's why I will not renew my membership as long as I do not trust what they say or do.

 

Even though I am only a two-hour drive away from the museum, the best I would be able to do is get there once or twice a year. Given that I joined AACA to support the museum, the reality is that I can do more to support the museum by just paying the admittance fee whenever I want to go.

 

If I see a compelling reason to renew my AACA membership after 2017, and if I believe I can trust what the board says, I will renew. But given my lack of trust I do not see that as being likely.

 

Jim

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1 hour ago, Doug Novak said:

Agree with you Mark and would remind everyone that The AACA Hershey Fall Meet, the biggest Car Show in the World, requires that to enter you most have an AACA Club Membership the year prior to, and year of, the Show.  

You wouldn't  want to miss this event, ever. 

 

Doug,

While this is a bit off topic (like a lot of this discussion) I feel that I need to correct an error here. To register a car for the Fall Meet you simply have to be a member of AACA . There is no requirement to have been a member of AACA in the prior year. 

 

Jim,

Everybody certainly has the right to their own opinion but I really don't quite understand your position. AACA started the AACA Museum. The Club and its members have always supported the Museum to make it what it is today. The Museum has always been considered to be part of the AACA Family, although it was legally a separate organization. The Club's board of directors recently reached a point that it had to discontinue an effort to merge with the museum and advised its members of that fact. I don't understand how you can feel misled by the board. I hope you will read the board's explanation of the process in the January/February Issue of Antique Automobile before you consider your decision final. I look forward to receiving that issue. Also, it is almost a year before you have to make a final decision about renewal or not. Who knows what may transpire in that time frame? I suspect that, depending on how AACA's membership responds to the museum's need for donations in that time frame, the relationship between the club and the museum may change. There is certainly a chance that the museum board's attitude towards the club may change. There is too much uncertainty for any of us to say for certain exactly what the situation will be a year from now. If it turns out at that time that you no longer want to be an AACA Member, then do what is best for you. Certainly you should continue to support the museum since you are passionate about it. I am sure that I will continue to visit the museum when I am in Hershey. At the moment, that is probably the extent of my support of the museum. If things change in the future, then my level of support for the museum may very well change. I will make that decision in the future, based on the circumstances as they area at that time.

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1 hour ago, MCHinson said:

Everybody certainly has the right to their own opinion but I really don't quite understand your position.


My position is that in all the membership materials I looked at before I joined, nothing said that the two were separate organizations and that joining the club  was not the same as joining the museum. I care more about the museum than the club. That's why I feel misled.

 

Jim

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9 minutes ago, jwsamuel said:


My position is that in all the membership materials I looked at before I joined, nothing said that the two were separate organizations and that joining the club  was not the same as joining the museum. I care more about the museum than the club. That's why I feel misled.

 

Jim

I wonder what membership materials you were reading and if you got them from the museum or elsewhere. While I have never inquired about membership in the Museum, I would assume that the museum has AACA Museum membership information available at the museum. I have seen the museum's membership program described on its website and really see no reason an AACA member would want to join the Museum as well.

 

I am looking at the Antique Automobile Club of America Membership Information brochure and a Membership Application. The brochure page that describes the museum clearly lists "AACA Museum, Inc." at the top of the page. It includes the statement, "Unlimited FREE admission to the Museum for AACA members. You must show your current year AACA membership card."  This statement is factual. It is not misleading.

 

The back of the application section titled AACA Museum, indicates "Your current year membership card entitles you to unlimited free admission. The AACA Museum was incorporated in 1993 and was completed in 2003. The facilities encompass over 80,000 squre feet and houses approximately 100 collector vehicles. A gift shop, educational programs and a regular change of exhibits can be found at the museum. Visit www.aacamuseum.org or call 717-466-7100." This is also factual. It clearly directs the reader to the museum's website. 

 

I don't think that any organization typically goes to great extreme to explain all of the details of its business relationships with associated organizations in its membership materials. I personally think that AACA has typically gone further than many organizations in revealing a lot of details that actually meant nothing to the casual observer until the museum board changed their direction from their previous harmonious relationship with the club. It appears to me that you, like apparently many others, glossed over some of the details and now you wish to complain about being "misled".

 

I realize that you are a newcomer to the club and only recently joined the Discussion Forum but I continue to be surprised that people could read the materials presented by AACA from the time that the idea to start the museum was first being discussed until the recent decision by the board to discontinue financial contributions to the museum, and claim that they never realized that the museum was not part of the club.  

 

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20 minutes ago, mike6024 said:

Who elects the Museum Board of Directors anyway? I see the museum offers annual memberships for $35, but it doesn't say that entitles one to vote on directors, just free admission for the year.

 

Great question. To the best of my understanding, the Museum Board of Directors elects the new board members. I can't seem to find the Museum's Bylaws on their website. I would really love to get a chance to read the Museum's Bylaws.  

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I don't really have a dog in this fight.  But the AACA membership card I just got doesn't mention the museum.  Last year's membership card includes the museum logo "AACA Museum" and, in very small print, 'The Antique Automobile Club Museum".  That would have suggested to me, a year ago, had I cared enough to look, that both the library and the museum were part of the AACA.  By the way, the Model T Ford Club of America owns the Model T museum in Indiana.  Both the club and the museum are 501(c)(3) organizations, club members are museum members, and the two organizations share a common board.  So it's not an unusual arrangement.

 

Gil Fitzhugh the Elder

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Gil,

While the Library is a part of the club, I would think that the three logos, AACA, AACA Museum, and AACA Library and Research Center, on the back of the membership cards constitute advertising. The big print on the front of the card clearly shows that it denotes membership in the Antique Automobile Club of America. 

 

I wonder what previous AACA Museum membership cards look like? Maybe someone can answer that question.

 

If there is ever any future idea of any type of merger, I think that a common board would be a critical need based on recent history. 

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How about this.  Kick out the lawyers and accountants, bring in a talented mediator with some Guiness and a bit of Glenfiddich.  Resupply with sandwiches until an agreement is made.  The AACA club and AACA museum belong together.   Gary

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35 minutes ago, cxgvd said:

How about this.  Kick out the lawyers and accountants, bring in a talented mediator with some Guiness and a bit of Glenfiddich.  Resupply with sandwiches until an agreement is made.  The AACA club and AACA museum belong together.   Gary

This is the best idea that I have heard so far.

There is no reason that the two sides can not get together for the good of

ALL of our members.

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I will also continue to support both, (just renewed yesterday!) And I agree with others here that say the two belong together, Club and Museum. Hoping for the best in the New Year. Both Executive directors work very hard for us and both boards are made up of dedicated volunteers.

HAPPY MOTORING! 

B)

 

 

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4 hours ago, cxgvd said:

 

How about this.  Kick out the lawyers and accountants, bring in a talented mediator with some Guiness and a bit of Glenfiddich.  Resupply with sandwiches until an agreement is made.  The AACA club and AACA museum belong together.   Gary

 

Great idea.  They belong together just as it was intended.  We have enough trouble attracting new blood without this bickering.  Work it out so we can all grow together on one site for future members to enjoy

 

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13 hours ago, MCHinson said:

 

I realize that you are a newcomer to the club and only recently joined the Discussion Forum but I continue to be surprised that people could read the materials presented by AACA from the time that the idea to start the museum was first being discussed until the recent decision by the board to discontinue financial contributions to the museum, and claim that they never realized that the museum was not part of the club.  

 

 

It is condescending attitudes as revealed in the above sentence that have irked me in this entire controversy concerning the AACA Club and the AACA Museum.  The above paragraph implies that those of us who were not aware of the separate LEGAL status of each organization are deficient or dishonest ("... claim that they never realized ...") in some way.  What are "... the materials presented by the AACA from the time ...", and how/when were they presented?  Perhaps I missed the presentation of this material since I've only been a member of the AACA Club for three years. 

 

16 hours ago, MCHinson said:

The Museum has always been considered to be part of the AACA Family, although it was legally a separate organization.

 

Yes, in my limited experience with the AACA, I also considered the AACA Museum to be part of the "Family".  Somewhere in my AACA membership experience, I missed the notice that the AACA Museum was legally a separate organization from the AACA Club.  From the discussions of this thread, it is clear that it had always been the intent of the AACA Club that the Museum would eventually become a LEGAL part of the club; consequently, why would a relative newcomer to the Club (such as myself) assume that the AACA Club was a separate legal entity from the AACA Museum?  Perhaps it would have been less confusing if the Museum had been called the Antique Automobile Museum of America (AAMA) instead of the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) Museum.

 

Just Sayin',

Grog

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Not attempting to be condescending but the materials used by AACA making reference to the museum have always noted the fact that the museum is a separate organization. For those of us who read in Antique Automobile when the Museum was originally created and read everything else published about the museum or by the museum since that time, it should have always been clear.

 

In hindsight, with the close working relationship between the club and the museum over all of those years and the anticipation of an eventual merger from the intial creation of the museum, I can certainly understand how the club did not go out of its way to highlight or advertise that distinction in a manner sufficient to make the casual observer who joined later to note the legal distinction.

 

Hopefully the next issue of Antique Automobile will help people better understand the issue. I look forward to receiving that issue. 

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We took advantage of a rare day off to travel 2 hours for a mid-winter visit to the Museum today. There were only a few patrons there at 10:30am, but by 2pm a fair number of folks had arrived. We enjoyed the cars from Italy and of course the Tucker collection. We headed up to the upper level to see the mascots and the club dash plaque collections- but as you can see from the picture, the cabinets with the dash plaques were empty. Sad, as I intended to leave the 1954 Pottstown plaque with the Museum. After all, the very first Fall Meet was hosted by the Pottstown Region, as the Hershey Region wouldn't come along until the next year. I guess we'll just hold on to the plaque until these folks sit down and resolve this matter for the benefit of the members.  I think they know what needs to be done.

IMG_5450.JPG

Edited by greenie (see edit history)

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I find the note in the showcase to be quite a bit like "I'm going to take my ball and go home with it" of our childhoods.

 

What, the Club didn't trust the Museum with a few artifacts?  That really seems silly and childish to me.

 

What is disappointing in all this is that it seems the Club is the organization that's going home with their ball, and that it could still be worked out if  no one tried to be king of the mountain.

 

It will be interesting to see what magic words show up in the AACA Club Magazine that explains all the ins and outs of this decision.

 

 

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I have the exact opposite reaction trimacar, AACA club history items belong with the Club/Library people, not the tax write off, donation of a car you can't sell it people. Bob

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)

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I agree that the AACA club and the museum should be together - but under the current situation - I think the AACA club logo, (like the one at the top of this page with the three cars), and the AACA Library logo should be removed from the footer of the museum's website. It suggests to their website visitors that they are combined and that's a little misleading. Just my opinion.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ronnie (see edit history)

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Interesting to note that the items were removed November 10th of this year, yet letters to the members weren't mailed until over a month later.  It would seem that as soon as this move was taking place the Club members should have been notified.  The Club leadership obviously knew the negotiations were over.

 

Also, if one reads the documents on the Museum website, it appears that the Club still owes the $80K "support" for 2016, as there is a one year "lag" in this payment.  Can anyone of authority verify that?  And if that's the case, that's part of the "defunding" also, correct?

 

 

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1 hour ago, trimacar said:

Also, if one reads the documents on the Museum website, it appears that the Club still owes the $80K "support" for 2016, as there is a one year "lag" in this payment.  Can anyone of authority verify that?  And if that's the case, that's part of the "defunding" also, correct?

 

David, I couldn't find that on the museum's website.

All I saw was their lengthy explanation dated Dec. 19.

Can you point us to where it was?

 

In some prior threads, our AACA employees (elected officials)

said they would be releasing more information to us on the forum.

That should be helpful too.

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Wow, 16 pages on what seems to be a hostile takeover attempt (and let the lawyers fight over who owns what name). Was interesting to watch the "Ramblin Man" episode of Chasing Classic Cars as Wayne and Steve visit the museum.

 

Do suspect the library is about to become the shining jewel with worldwide support of the hobby. Should be interesting.

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David,

 

From my reading of that letter, the museum board is asking (maybe demanding is the right word) that the club continue to send them $80,000 for 2017 on the premise that the club already collected dues from AACA members at the rate that previously included the club's regular donation sent to the museum and thus "owes" that amount to the museum. That is the same letter in which they notified the club that they were removing incoming 2017 AACA President Tom Cox from the museum board. I would suggest that, unless there is some contract in place that covers the club's previous annual donation to the museum that I am not aware of, they wasted the ink in which they demanded that payment. That demand looks like just more "spin control" to me. Sometimes time heals wounds. I think that pouring salt in the wound might mean it takes more time to heal. 

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