midman

AACA Museum & AACA, What is Going On

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Like GM in 09 when they went belly up in the US but not anywhere else in the world. Not even Canada or Mexico. A separate division but not company.

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When you look up aaca.org on the Internet, this comes up:

 

"Home Page Article - Antique Automobile Club of America

www.aaca.org

Operates the AACA Museum and Library. Includes publications, calendar, membership information, merchandise, photos, and forum."

 

When you go to the museum website, this is one of the paragraphs describing the museum:

 

"A visit to the AACA Museum is a one-of-a-kind journey of discovery and entertainment for the entire family. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum is open to the public and offers both self-guided and guided tours for larger groups. As you make your way through the museum, you’ll discover a number of vintage automobiles in unique scenes and settings. We frequently change and update displays, and we host a number of new events each month."

 

Yep, that's clear as mud...and again, I don't think Club should be in the name of the museum, if they're not affiliated....

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1 hour ago, Dynaflash8 said:

I think it is simply the AACA Museum.  As I recall, they were allowed to use the term "AACA", not the full title of the club.  Long time ago.  I think that was in 2002.

 

As another member pointed out, the museum's

internet site calls the organization "the Antique

Automobile Club of America Museum."  

That's understandable.  There are too many

acronyms these days, and the letters "A.A.C.A."

don't mean anything unless they have words behind them.

 

Our local radio station calls the museum, 

in understandable shorthand, the

"Antique Auto Museum at Hershey." 

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The legal entity concept is not atypical.  I think the assumption might be that the Museum is a "division" of AACA and in more general terms "part of the club".  This is likely the spirit of say ACD museum, etc. - especially if using the name sake as has been pointed out, and taking signifcant funds.  This would be fine except rift has to be either over financial direction or mission (note the influx of modified cars/theme in recent years, now a little more clear as to why - likely the leadership's idea to draw traffic) or both.  

 

My biggest concern going forward is this rift will present likely financial challenges by a loss of synergy - which is not good for AACA and hopefully, not fatal in the long run for the museum, which does represent a great facility in the "Capitol Region" for antique auto hobbyists!  

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I am admittedly a new member here but I do remember when my father joined in the early 60's and I used to attend the local GVAC meetings.

 

This problem, as well as the Nationwide debacle, are the result of the lack of communication and candor by those who know what is going on. I find it hard to believe that the relationship with the museum just suddenly turned sour a week ago. Is it too much for the membership to be apprised of things that may directly affect them? There are probably many members who would have thought twice about donations to the museum if they knew that they were considering a total break from the club. 

 

There are a lot of things that are legal but unethical. I believe that the board needs to do a better job of communicating with members about possible snags coming up in the future. We are supposed to be a club of friends - the membership is not your adversary and often members might have a reasonable and workable suggestion that has not been thought of by the board because they are , by nature,  "preaching to the choir" during board meetings.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Steve Moskowitz said:

...I think both sides for quite some time felt we would find a solution as we did have an idea that was supported by all but unfortunately our legal counsel advised against it.  The club understood the reasons...

 

I'll say upfront I have not been an AACA member for several years and am thus not entitled to any explanation on this. Still, I'm curious, and I'll wager many current AACA members on this forum are curious as well...

 

What was this "idea that was supported by all" and on what grounds did "legal counsel advise(d) against it"?

Edited by Chris Bamford (see edit history)

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I'd be curious too about the "idea supported by all", and how it was legally a liability.

 

This thread is being discussed on the Model T Ford Club of America (MTFCA) forum.  They have a museum, and the club owns it, lock stock and barrel.  Guess lawyers don't care as much about Model T's.

 

The Pierce Arrow Society and the Pierce Museum at Gilmore are, I believe, separate entities also, the difference is that the people who run the museum are avid Pierce Arrow Society members, so they know that what's good for one is good for the other...

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Sorry that these problems exist.  I received a letter from the Museum yesterday for a donation before year end!!  I know that they need contributions all the time, but this was ironic.  I was at the" Night at the Museum" during the Hershey meet in October and bought an electric train at the silent auction.  Brought it home with me and did not open the box until 2 weeks later, only to find that there was only one of the 5 cars and just 2 pieces of track in the box!!!  Don't know!!  There must be problems somewhere .  Hope things can be smoothed out somehow.   Coalter Paxton 

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I love the Antique Automobile Club of America.  I believe in the mission, I enjoy the events and publications, and I have used the library.  I will continue to be a member and supporter.

 

I love the AACA Museum.  It is a great facility, has wonderful exhibits, and is fun to visit.  I will continue to be a visitor and supporter.

 

Both seem to be well-managed and thriving.  I have difficulty seeing any downside here.

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The museum is a great tool to attract people to the hobby and the efforts of the AACA to keep interest in the history of the automobile alive for future generations. As both seem to be going their separate ways it does not seem like a winning decision for either group.  I sincerely hope this matter can be re-addressed in the future to see if there is a mutually agreeable way to keep the relationship alive.

 

Terry

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I received my letter from the board regarding this issue today.

 

From my personal perspective, it appears that over decades the AACA Board of Directors have operated under the belief that the Museum would eventually merge with the club. The Library's success has brought the club to the point that a bigger building for the club is a necessity and can't be delayed much longer. The current board was ready to wrap up a merger in order to facilitate an efficient building plan to bring everything together on one campus. Over the years, the Museum Board has apparently grown a bit further removed from the early museum days when all of the board members were very active in the club.

 

The club's board of directors is obviously disappointed that they could not bring it all together but, since it is clear that it is time to move forward with the needed building, I think it is appropriate that they decided to make the membership aware of this decision. It has never been a secret that the Museum was a separate legal entity. It made sense to create it as a separate entity at the time. Now, it would be nice if both organizations could be merged but it does not presently look like this is going to be possible. The only criticism that I would have of the board's notice would be the red "Urgent" label on the envelope containing the letter to the membership. I guess it certainly made people pay attention, but I think it made people a bit more upset than necessary. There is nothing that "Urgent", in my opinion, about the fact that the club is no longer going to be subsidizing the Museum by about $1.50 per club member per year.

 

I am sure that the Museum will survive and the club will certainly survive. Hopefully there will be a chance to consider a merger again in the future, if it is in the best long term interest of both organizations. Unfortunately, it looks like getting it all together in one location is not going to be possible. There has always been a bit of confusion about AACA, the AACA Museum, and the Hershey Region. Lots of people think of AACA as "Hershey" and fail to understand the differences in all of the different entities that all work to further the hobby in their own way.  

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9 minutes ago, MCHinson said:

From my personal perspective, it appears that over decades the AACA Board of Directors have operated under the belief that the Museum would eventually merge with the club. The Library's success has brought the club to the point that a bigger building for the club is a necessity and can't be delayed much longer. The current board was ready to wrap up a merger in order to facilitate an efficient building plan to bring everything together on one campus. Over the years, the Museum Board has apparently grown a bit further removed from the early museum days when all of the board members were very active in the club.

 

The club's board of directors is obviously disappointed that they could not bring it all together but, since it is clear that it is time to move forward with the needed building, I think it is appropriate that they decided to make the membership aware of this decision. It has never been a secret that the Museum was a separate legal entity. It made sense to create it as a separate entity at the time. Now, it would be nice if both organizations could be merged but it does not presently look like this is going to be possible. The only criticism that I would have of the board's notice would be the red "Urgent" label on the envelope containing the letter to the membership. I guess it certainly made people pay attention, but I think it made people a bit more upset than necessary. There is nothing that "Urgent", in my opinion, about the fact that the club is no longer going to be subsidizing the Museum by about $1.50 per club member per year.

 

I am sure that the Museum will survive and the club will certainly survive. Hopefully there will be a chance to consider a merger again in the future, if it is in the best long term interest of both organizations. Unfortunately, it looks like getting it all together in one location is not going to be possible. There has always been a bit of confusion about AACA, the AACA Museum, and the Hershey Region. Lots of people think of AACA as "Hershey" and fail to understand the differences in all of the different entities that all work to further the hobby in their own way.  

In my opinion, this is the best explanation and seems to answer all of the questions, in one neat nutshell.

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Been a little busy but just read all of this - then I passed out  - now I'm back again. I knew a little bit about some of this but was hoping for the best. (Still am, hoping for the best that is.)

A dear old car friend told me once the secret to a long and happy life is patience. So I am going to be patient and see what happens next. Like "AKSTRAW" above I truly love AACA and the AACA Museum and I have been a club member for a pretty long time. My experiences with both are among the best of my life.

I'd be both duty-bound and happy to help with anything I can with regard to this situation. You might want to think about what YOU can do to help too!

 

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4 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

Our local radio station calls the museum, 

in understandable shorthand, the

"Antique Auto Museum at Hershey." 

That doesn't necessarily make it so.  I would hope somebody at the home office would verify whether on not they were granted the use of just "AACA" or "Antique Automobile Club of America Museum. I was there, and Jim Raines was President, but I'm 78 years old now.  I may not be perfect in my memory any longer.  But, I recall it was to be use only of "AACA" that was granted.  That paperwork was 14 years ago.

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Matt, your comment was quite well written.

 

Now, one thing that hasn't been discussed, why was it felt a letter to each member was necessary?  Didn't this cost tens of thousands of dollars in printing, handling, postage?  Why not just post it on this forum, and write an article in the magazine (as has been done for next issue)?  Everyone would have known soon enough that way.......

 

Seems like an "Urgent" waste of money, for something that's been going on for years.........

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15 minutes ago, trimacar said:

Matt, your comment was quite well written.

 

Now, one thing that hasn't been discussed, why was it felt a letter to each member was necessary?  Didn't this cost tens of thousands of dollars in printing, handling, postage?  Why not just post it on this forum, and write an article in the magazine (as has been done for next issue)?  Everyone would have known soon enough that way.......

 

Seems like an "Urgent" waste of money, for something that's been going on for years.........

 

David,

 

Maybe with the information provided in the letter, as to the distinction between the club and library, and the museum, people might have a better understanding regarding their potential year-end donations.

 

We certainly encourage charitable donations with the full knowledge of which entity will benefit from your generosity, be it the museum, the AACA Library, or our AACA club. I'm here for the love of the hobby, and hope that most others are, as well - and know that, for the almost forty years we've been friends, you are also. Thanks for your continued support of the hobby, and for all the help you've provided over the years.

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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Marty, I guess the year-end issue does make sense, a lot of people contribute late in the year to good causes. 

 

I've not received the letter, so can't speak to content.

 

I've progressed from the cars meaning everything, to the people who love the cars meaning everything, and of course you're in that group....and I'll try not to tell too many people, Marty, about the strange cars you used to own (although, in retrospect, seeing the Citroen did make us talk to each other at the Bassham's, correct?).  Whoops, I mentioned the cars...

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1 hour ago, MCHinson said:

...Hopefully there will be a chance to consider a merger again in the future, if it is in the best long term interest of both organizations. Unfortunately, it looks like getting it all together in one location is not going to be possible. ...

 

Here's another idea.  If everyone hopes the 

organization can come together in the future,

why not buy an EXISTING building for the

office and the library, rather than building NEW.

 

Minor or major renovations to an existing building

will save members money--it's much less expensive

than building new.  There shouldn't be a rush to spend

millions more of members' dollars, or to take out big new loans.

And there are certainly a number of good commercial buildings

that are, or will be, for sale in the area.  Then, keep working toward

reconciliation with the museum--and possibly build

on that ground in future years.

 

Combining wisdom and economy will serve our club well.

The physical separation won't be as cast in stone,

and the club will save money as well.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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John,

 

I don't have any reason to believe that a decision to buy land to build a new building versus buying an existing facility has been made. The only thing that I have heard is that additional expansion and renovation of the existing HQ and Library building has been deemed not a practical economical solution. I have faith that the board will make the right decision for the future of the club. I am sure that more information will be forthcoming in the not too distant future.

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33 minutes ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

why not buy an EXISTING building for the

office and the library, rather than building NEW.


Yes! There are plenty of building of automotive interest surviving as well that would really be neat to preserve with a continued automotive intent. From old dealerships, to factories and assembly plants. Also if purchased at the right time of year, some properties can be purchased at greatly reduced prices to be used as tax write offs, on top of portions simply given as a donation.

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When trying to convert an exsisting building today, you can spend as much as 80 percent of the cost of a purpose built new one. Energy codes, parking requirements, utilities, Americans With Disiablitys Act, zoning, layout, the list is endless, sad fact is that tearing down perfectly good buildings that have many years of use is a economic reality. Remember this new building is going to house the Library, temperature and humidity control, UV lighting issues, fireproof vault, wheel chair access, you name it........the list is endless, a new building is the way to go, and in the long run, a better value.

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1 hour ago, trimacar said:

Marty, I guess the year-end issue does make sense, a lot of people contribute late in the year to good causes. 

 

I've not received the letter, so can't speak to content.

 

I've progressed from the cars meaning everything, to the people who love the cars meaning everything, and of course you're in that group....and I'll try not to tell too many people, Marty, about the strange cars you used to own (although, in retrospect, seeing the Citroen did make us talk to each other at the Bassham's, correct?).  Whoops, I mentioned the cars...

 

Correctamundo!

 

For as long as I can recall, my tag-line for this great hobby has been:

 

The cars are just the VEHICLE,

for bringing the PEOPLE together.

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As I sit here reading the Nov./ Dec. issue of the Antique Automobile, I see a thank you, on page 33, regarding the "Night at the Museum". It goes on to say "Thank you, The  AACA, AACA Library & Research Center and AACA Museum would like to thank........blah, blah blah." . It goes on to say "All proceeds benefit the AACA  "FAMILY": Club, Library and Museum. What the heck happened to the AACA family. Sounds more like "Family Feud" to me. I among others had no idea that they were separate entities. I have visited the museum many times and I honestly thought it was "OUR" (AACA Members) museum. Heck, we even have, (had) a Vice President on the Museum Board. I feel duped!

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I just received my letter from the AACA.  I think the "urgent" on the envelope was a good idea.  It made me open it right away and read it.   I have lost count of the number of times that my local club, has sent out its newsletter  with info about a upcoming show or event, only to have members, who throw it in the corner and do not read it until after the event and miss it!

A another point, that a number of member have made is that we found out about this issue, after its is all over and done.  The Board has known about this issue for a number of years and keep us members in the dark.  So members who have given money and or cars to the museum, in the past few years are upset and rightly so.   Over the past number of year I have spent a  good sum of money buying things at the museum  auction, held each year at the meet in Philly.  Had I known about this issue, I would have brought nothing and spent more at the library tag sale! 

What brothers me, is why is the board so secretive, about things?  Why were we not told about these negotiations, years ago?  Then the membership would not have been blindsided my this letter.

This is negotiations about a auto museum, not " Salt Two" treaty talks about  nuclear weapons! 

Both the letter and posting  here, from board members, have made a point about the Library and Research Center and how much it has grown. Now it needs a bigger building.  The board wants to build a new building.  With the cost of building and zoning laws  and land.  This new building will cost million of dollars to build.  

How does the board plan to pay for this?  Are they going to tell us? Are we the members going to have any input into this?  Or is this going to be more secret meeting.  With the membership not know what is going on until its too late. 

The Board of Directors, get paid no money for what they do.  For that I respect them.  But why are their meeting so secret?  Steve said that they tape all of their meetings.  Do they not trust each other?  A number of people, have said that the Board has our best interests at heart.

Maybe if they told us what some of these interests are, we the members could take some of the load off of their hearts!

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

When trying to convert an existing building today, you can spend as much as 80 percent of the cost of a purpose built new one. ...

a new building is the way to go, and in the long run, a better value.

 

Steve M., quoted in the Hemmings article, stated,

"We chose the painful path of moving on alone as we need to

BUILD a new library and national headquarters."  [Emphasis added.]

That's why I inferred that our board hasn't been considering existing buildings.

 

In Pennsylvania, with a reasonable cost of living, I understand that an

existing building is NOT almost the cost of a new one.

Existing buildings can be good deals--like overlooked car models.

But you're right, Ed, some people think they must build anew, and that's why

historical buildings often tend to be destroyed and not preserved.

 

I speak as one in the building and engineering profession.

Completely gutting an existing building, installing new walls and finishes,

new electricity, HVAC, and plumbing, may cost $80 per square foot.

Such a cost may be for the likes of a suburban medical practice, which

includes numerous rooms and provision for a high-density filing system

as our library has, though the filing may be extra.

And of course, not all existing buildings even need gutting.

 

Commercial buildings are built to a higher standard than houses.

They also can last longer--100 to 200 years easily, or 500 or more if you

have Europeans' long-term outlook.  An existing building that may be

30 or 40 years old isn't even close to being worn out.  I wanted to

share this existing-building idea for everyone's consideration--

and for club members' wallets!

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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