midman

AACA Museum & AACA, What is Going On

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My comments on this are based on an incident where I work, a vary large non-profit association.

An issue that was covered up that came to light years later and how it was handled  by the association caused about a 25% to 30% loss in memberships and close to 8 million dollar loss over 3 year period.

When Trust is lost which was the case above because of cover up and lack of information to members.

Once Trust  is gone the losses suffered will be very had to get back. I suggest that the AACA and the Museum should now be truthful and release all documentation, the sooner it is released the better it will be for members of both entities. Things can heal and move on. The longer information is held the more damage it will do.

 

Also a suggestion for Library space, AACA needs to cost evaluate scanning in documents to save space, You may be doing some now but if not this could down size the needed space.

Edited by Dashmaster
spelling (see edit history)
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It appears that the catalyst for the Club/Museum split was the Clubs "need" for more space. Kind of lost in the fog of debate are a few questions:            

 

Does the Club "need" more space or would they merely "like" more space?

Has the Clubs "need" been actually quantified?

Has a cost/benefit study been run?

Are there other ways to meet the Clubs "needs" other than building a new facility from scratch?

Will the new facility, if built, mimic the Taj Mahal type structure of the museum or a more work-a-day office like structure?

Would leasing existing space be both more practical and cost effective?

Having all the AACA's facilities in one place sounds nice but is it really necessary in this age of instant connectedness?

Does it REALLY matter if the Executive Directors office is in the same building as the library?

Is it worth it to the membership to expend millions of dollars to that end?

Does it make fiscal sense to expend millions of dollars to house a collection of literature, many pieces  of which will never be utilized to any large degree or even looked at?

Can the libraries growing collection be culled to fit the existing facility while still serving the clubs "needs"?

Etc.

Etc.

Etc.

 

 

Now before I'm branded as a heretic I'm merely asking these questions as a long time member. It seems to me this whole Club/library/Museum/new building are all part of the same issue. To wit: Do we really NEED this or would we only Like this?

Inquiring minds need to know.................Bob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Imperial62 said:

 

Actually I would believe most of the old car hobby had no idea the 2 organizations were separate. It is after all called the AACA Museum / Library.

 

Let me make a small correction...

 

The Library was once a separate organization like the museum. The library previously merged with the club and is now part of AACA. The AACA Museum is a separate organization.

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If someone doesn't like what the club is doing, voice your opinion by NOT renewing your dues, which, are due this time of year anyway. There are lots of other car clubs you can join.

 

Oh wait, if you do that, you won't be able to get your coveted Hershey spaces or have your car judged at a AACA National event. God forbid.

 

I really don't see what all this is about. The club and museum have always been separate and, after all this, they are still separate. Basically, nothing has changed. For legal and financial reasons, I believe it is best if the two remain separate. There is a reason why so many other national clubs have kept their club and related museums separate. They know what they are doing.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)

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2 hours ago, Dashmaster said:

 

Also a suggestion for Library space, AACA needs to cost evaluate scanning in documents to save space, You may be doing some now but if not this could down size the needed space.

 

I will let our leadership team address the main issues here, but, I need to address this one.  

 

The AACA Library is a library/archive run by professional librarians.  Scanning documents eliminates distance between our users and our facility and it even prevents over-handling fragile material.  We've already scanned hundreds of thousands of pages and will continue to do much, much more.  However, the AACA Library will never discard an item after it's scanned to free up space.  That isn't what archives do.  

 

-Chris Ritter

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2 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

 

It appears that the catalyst for the Club/Museum split was the Clubs "need" for more space. Kind of lost in the fog of debate are a few questions:            

 

Does the Club "need" more space or would they merely "like" more space?  Needs, this issue was fully explained before and in my magazine column  two issues ago.  The space issue is mostly a library issue but we have no more office space and need it plus our other spaces are extremely inefficient to work out of..

Has the Clubs "need" been actually quantified? Yes

Has a cost/benefit study been run? No, that is a bit difficult to do but the fact is that we will have no room to accept major collections that are due to come here

Are there other ways to meet the Clubs "needs" other than building a new facility from scratch? Yes, and we are exploring that avenue and have toured a potential facility.

Will the new facility, if built, mimic the Taj Mahal type structure of the museum or a more work-a-day office like structure? Looking to have a aesthetically appealing building but no Taj Mahal

Would leasing existing space be both more practical and cost effective? In Hershey??  You find it and we would look at it!!!

Having all the AACA's facilities in one place sounds nice but is it really necessary in this age of instant connectedness?  It is still the most efficient way for us to work together.  The staff of both "departments" constantly are working to help each other

Does it REALLY matter if the Executive Directors office is in the same building as the library? Doesn't hurt as the ED oversees the library and I have heard he actually provides value although as never taken a dime in compensation from the library.

Is it worth it to the membership to expend millions of dollars to that end? We hope the members see the long range need and understand that expenditures are being made for the future of the organization

Does it make fiscal sense to expend millions of dollars to house a collection of literature, many pieces  of which will never be utilized to any large degree or even looked at?Our purpose is to save automotive history and to be the finest repository in the country and a free public library,  We believe so but as stated we have run out of room.  There are more large collections slated to come here in member's estates and ones that we have visited so we know there huge value to the automotive community.  Are you asking the Smithsonian whether it is worth their huge collection that most will never, ever see the display floor?

Can the libraries growing collection be culled to fit the existing facility while still serving the clubs "needs"? Culled?  We do not duplicate our holdings as evidenced by our sales online and sale at Hershey each year so we DO THAT! 

Etc.

Etc.

Etc.  Bob I can and will answer all your concerns but give me a call because I cannot stay on the forums all day.  I do have other issues to work on. 717-534-1910

 

 

Now before I'm branded as a heretic I'm merely asking these questions as a long time member. It seems to me this whole Club/library/Museum/new building are all part of the same issue. To wit: Do we really NEED this or would we only Like this?

Inquiring minds need to know.................Bob

 

 

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Hello everyone,

 

This is my first post on this forum as I am just completing my first year as an AACA member and have recently renewed for 2017.

 

I have been interested in antique and collector cars for some time and used to own a 1949 Studebaker R5 pickup and a 1967 Mustang. I no longer own any collector car, unless you consider a 2009 Toyota Camry to be a classic, but remain interested in the hobby. At current, I am more interested in participating as an observer, reader, photographer and collector of memorabilia.

 

I decided to join AACA in December 2015 for the 2016 calendar year. A large part of my decision was to support the museum as I did not realize they were two different organizations and thought they were a single unit. There was nothing in any of the information I read leading me to believe otherwise. After all, it is called the "AACA Museum." I was aware that the museum had its own Board of Directors, but it is not unusual in non-profit organizations to have different boards directing different parts of the organization's mission. So there was nothing to lead me to believe that the two were separate.

 

A few days ago, just days after I renewed my membership for 2017, I received the "Urgent" letter informing my of the split between the two organizations. At first I was annoyed that the club had announced the split well into the time when most people renew memberships for the next year. My first thought was had I known before I renewed I might have not renewed with the AACA and waited to see if the museum offered its own memberships.

After reading the positions of both the AACA and the museum, I have started to change my mind and now think that I will not renew my AACA membership after 2017 and will not donate to the museum or purchase a museum membership if they offer one.

 

Why the change? The positions of both organizations have shown me that what is happening is something that commonly happens in non-profit organizations. That is that the egos of the directors of both organizations have taken precedence over the mission of the organizations. 

 

Over the years since the museum opened, the directors of neither organization saw fit to make it clear that they were separate entities. That indicates to me that they started off by seeing themselves with similar missions and serving the same members/patrons/customers. What happened since then to make each board believe differently?

 

I went and read message #224 on page 9 of this thread and after reading the museum board's statements and the AACA rebuttal, I get the feeling that the egos of board members on both sides were threatened by the proposed merger and that clouded their judgement. I have seen that happen in other non-profit organizations and believe it is dangerous to the organization when egos divert attention away from the mission.

 

Now I know that some of you will say that I am a newcomer to the AACA and have no business commenting. To an extent, I agree and that is why I have refrained from making any suggestion of what should happen in the future. I do not know enough to offer an opinion or suggest what should happen. Rather, I am just posting this to let people know what kind of impression this matter has made on a new member and why this new member may soon become a former member.

 

Jim Samuel

Langhorne, PA 

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5 minutes ago, Steve Moskowitz said:

"I have heard he actually provides value although as never taken a dime in compensation from the library."

 

I have heard the same thing, great value! Steve reminds me of the Blue Bloods TV person "Garrett". He keeps his emotions in check. I am sorry, sometimes mine get away from me. I deleted my post because Steve handles things correctly, without emotion. ....And the Board, plus every AACA member appreciates what he does for our Club.

 

Thanks Steve, had to say that!

 

Wayne

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A new library and headquarters open up great possibilities,

whenever the money is raised to pay for them.

An existing building is an affordable alternative,

temporarily used or otherwise;

but imagine what a new building could be.

A new building could be a reproduction of a

historic automotive building from the past,

fascinating to visit and a boon to the hobby.

 

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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14 minutes ago, jwsamuel said:

...Now I know that some of you will say that I am a newcomer to the AACA and have no business commenting.... 

Jim Samuel

Langhorne, PA 

 

ANY member's thoughtful comments are welcome!

And even though this issue is taking a lot of people's 

attention at the moment, don't think that argument is

what usually occupies people's thoughts.  The people in AACA

and at the  Museum are fine people.  You'll meet many

interesting and helpful car fans, with virtually no disagreement

other than friendly banter over tires and tools and techniques.

 

If you participate in AACA, JIm, you will find your enjoyment

of the hobby multiplied many times over.

 

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I would like all of you to know that I have had correspondence with Wayne Burgess and Steve as well.  As most of you know, I was most adamant with my displeasure of this situation.  I have offered my opinions and suggestions.  In the process, it appears even my overly-generous merger ideas have been previously offered, with no success.

Honestly, I was of the opinion that something could be done to solve the problem.  I am now convinced that it cannot move forward.  Trust me, you are not hearing this from a "Board Member" or anyone who has ties to the administration.   I'm one of "you" - a member in good standing who has opinions and only wants the best for the Club.   We need to let it go.  We need to unite and be one.  Life has a way of taking care of all things.  The museum will operate without us, and we without them.  I am further convinced that in the future our board will remember this and bring us important information a bit sooner.

I cannot tell anyone where to invest their money or place their donations, but please be cognizant that the two groups are separate entities.  If you wish to support the National AACA, please do so.  If you wish to donate to the museum, that is your prerogative, but those donations will not favor the AACA National. 

This is a very emotional time for all of us.  Let us move on and enjoy the hobby.  Merry Christmas to all, and if it is more appropriate - Happy Holidays!

 

Footnote:  If the board decided to eliminate the "free admission" to the museum and use the extra few bucks towards a building program, I'm all in favor of it.

 

Andy Jochum

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I just can't believe this whole scenario concerning the AACA and the AACA Museum.   I guess I'm just naive to believe all along that the museum was, in fact, part of AACA.   I guess I'm just wrong.   What really upsets me is all the member and club money that's gone into building and supporting the museum.   It seems incredible that our beloved club and the museum can't make accomodations to one another to merge into one unit.   Someone along the way is going to hurt big time and I don't believe it'll be AACA.   Museums are hard to run profitably.   I hope that the museum can find its way without the support of AACA.   I've been reading this whole story for the past few days on the Forum.   I just got my letter from AACA today, December 17th.

Rog

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To continue, after I got over the shock concerning AACA and the AACA Museum,  I realize that other auto museums are NOT part of the club that they're affiliated with.   As as example, the Studebaker Drivers Club and the Studebaker Museum in South Bend are not a unit.  Each is independent, but support each other's activities.   I also understand that the ACD Club is not in control of the ACD Museum.    I'm sure there are other examples, but I just wanted to name a couple.

Rog

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I have been given permission to post a letter to us from Mr. Springer, former AACA board member, and the person who was the first in modern times (you can go way back in the club's history where a museum was discussed) to chair a committee looking into the formation of the museum.  Also a couple of articles from 1994 and 1995 form Antique Automobile which will show some original INTENT by the club.  It is just to answer a few questions concerning comments made by some others. It is not how things were worked out but will back up some of the board's feelings and many,many member's feelings.  Click on News 3.docx 

News 3.docx

News1.jpg

News2.jpg

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14 minutes ago, RPrice said:

To continue, after I got over the shock concerning AACA and the AACA Museum,  I realize that other auto museums are NOT part of the club that they're affiliated with.   As as example, the Studebaker Drivers Club and the Studebaker Museum in South Bend are not a unit.  Each is independent, but support each other's activities.   I also understand that the ACD Club is not in control of the ACD Museum.    I'm sure there are other examples, but I just wanted to name a couple.

Rog

That is true, but the big difference here is that from the get go, AACA was "all-in" supporting the kick off of the museum, with a lot invested in time and money.   I'm sure different decisions would have been made, like the example Studebaker Club you mention, regarding how many resources would be invested if they were separate identities from the start. The Studebaker Drivers Club, and other similar clubs with that relationship, possibly may not donate as much, or provide as many resources as if they were one org.  Big difference between donating 10K here or there, a spring meet once and a while at a museum, a few cars donated, etc..., vs millions invested (or higher % of revenue to a sister org).  Again, intent originally was not a separate org, as from readings this was supposed be temporary until 501.3c status granted. 

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For the benefit of any who may not have the latest version of Microsoft Word and thus cannot open Steve's attachment above, Here is a pdf copy of that document, News 3.docx : Springer Letter.pdf

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I had an interesting discussion with a long-time member of the AACA regarding the original formation of the museum.  He was a lot more educated about some of the details of the beginning of the museum than I ever was, guess I just wasn't paying attention!

 

My understanding now is that when the Museum was founded, it was done so separately from the Club, both for tax reasons and the fact that some members of the AACA thought the Museum would fail, and in that case the Club should be insulated from any financial responsibility.  Stand alone museums, not privately nor corporately funded, do not have a good track record of staying in the black with operational costs.

 

With the support of AACA Club, and AACA members, the Museum has been reasonably successful and mostly able to grow and to pay the bills.

 

The Museum has made light of the $80K per year support from the Club, but that "little bit", which added up to over a million dollars over the years, might mean that the Museum would now be in debt $2.4 million instead of the $1.4 million stated in the documents.  There's a fine line between being in the red and being in the black for such an endeavor.  And, that $80K is separate and apart from all the other support from Club members, whom at the time probably thought anything given to the Museum helps the Club to further stated purpose.

 

I trust that the Club Board has done what they think is best for the existence of the Club.  The Museum Board has, apparently, drifted far from the course set when the Museum was first conceived, and it appears that there's no way now to get back to the original, intended,  destination (a merger).  As mentioned, life goes on, and one can support either or both of the organizations, but I'll be willing to bet that the Museum has lost some of the goodwill of the AACA Club members at this point, and it will be harder and harder to get donations, volunteers, and many other things a museum needs to function above the break-even line.

 

This is sad for the hobby, and both organizations will suffer in the long run.

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2 hours ago, AJFord54 said:

  I am further convinced that in the future our board will remember this and bring us important information a bit sooner.

I'm not convinced of this, because I don't recall reading in this lengthy thread any mention by an AACA Club official that the board was remiss in not notifying the membership of the ongoing negotiations with the Museum Board.  Other than this one point of personal concern (timely notification), I really don't care whether or not the Club and Museum are separate entities.

 

Merry Christmas,

Grog

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1 hour ago, MCHinson said:

For the benefit of any who may not have the latest version of Microsoft Word and thus cannot open Steve's attachment above, Here is a pdf copy of that document, News 3.docx : Springer Letter.pdf

 

Thank you, all, for further documentation.

Ronald Stringer's letter (link thereto above) reminded me

that people were donating cars to the club in anticipation

of the museum.  Those cars were donated to the actual AACA

and, he says, later transferred to the museum.

 

Question:  In his 3 bullet points in his letter, to which

Board(s) of Directors is he referring?  The club, the museum,

the library--or different boards in different bullet points?

It's unclear.  He may want to revise his letter, as it is a

important documentation of club history.

 

And was the organization eventually arranged the way

he mentioned--with the already non-profit Library being the

umbrella--or did it come about another way?  I think he's 

saying that the arrangement was done differently.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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Grog, the board certainly understands its need to keep members informed and we try to do this always as best as possible.  This was a very sensitive topic and there was little to be gained by either entity (take note that the museum has not discussed this on their website or in any publication either) talking about negotiations.  That would have been counterproductive to a good outcome.  If the negotiations had been successful all of this would be a moot point.

 

I have tried to tell everyone that this was an intricate set of circumstances that board decisions from 20 years ago and some more current put our current board in a no-win situation.  All any board can do is try their best to do what is right for their members. 

 

John, you have lost me as I think Mr. Springer's letter is self-explanatory but we are also in receipt of far more information from him and he is trying to find files that he was told to destroy but never did. All of that information is being saved along with some financial information that is still here in this office. 

 

Most importantly everyone, as we get close to the holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and any other holiday you observe.  I hope everyone has a Happy but more importantly healthy New Year and that peace and goodwill will somehow overrule the day!!!

 

If the board decided to eliminate the "free admission" to the museum and use the extra few bucks towards a building program, I'm all in favor of it...Andy, the museum has stated that 2017 they would honor free admittance.  I would make sure you bring your membership card.

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Personally I hope there is always some insulation between the Museum and the Club. I can't envision club finances dragging the museum into bankruptcy but I can envision the museum dragging down the club. Hopefully both can exist in synergy with separate management and separate budgets.

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I for one do not care a hoot if the museum and AACA part ways, although I too always thought the museum was part of AACA.  I live in SE Texas, have been to fall Hershey and the museum once, and really enjoyed both, but may never get back up there again.  I think Steve and AACA do a great job, and really enjoy the magazine and the few AACA shows I have been to in various locales, and the magazine and those shows to me are what AACA is about.   I've also been to many car museums in locations all over the country and enjoyed them all, but will probably not revisit any of them even if I go right by them.

 

Just my opinion.

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I've spoken to two officials of the AACA at length. There is no reason to go into our conversations chapter and verse but here is my take away.                

 

The AACA feels it has done it's best but admits things could have been handled better.

The Club and Museum rupture is a done deal.

We will be getting the Clubs position on this only from the clubs view point.

 

Here is my opinion on the subject:

On one hand the monies and efforts provided to the Museum is just plain gone. On the other hand it has produced a world class car museum.

Egos and personalities have played a noticeable role in the situation and continue to do so. (no surprise there)

Unless we were a fly on the wall we will never know the real and full story uncolored by bias and opinion. (except for our own)

We will be getting the Clubs version via magazine article. Believe it in whole or part as you wish.

In the whole scheme of things this is just another garden variety tempest in a tea pot.

It's time to  just say "the Hell with it" and move on.

My hope is that this whole debacle will serve as a learning lesson to the AACA that timely disclosure of AACA policy or changes  can only be the best policy.

Another member suggested the publication of a synopsis of future board meetings should be initiated, Sounds good to me................Bob Beck

 

 

 

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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A question: Will the museum have to change its name or will it continue to use AACA in its name?

 

Jim Samuel

Langhorne, PA

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