The Collings Foundation needs our help to gain planning permission for a new museum building they wish to construct for housing a major military vehicle collection they just acquired. What follows is their press release, but we hope it will spur some of you to assist them with their aims…. It’s vital in fact!
The Collings Foundation has submitted plans to the Stow, Massachusetts Planning Board for a proposed new museum building on the Foundation’s grounds. This museum will house the core of Jacques Littlefield’s Military Vehicle Technology Foundation collection of historic tanks, military vehicles and artifacts. There will be 83 major historical items from WWI up to the Gulf War plus many smaller pieces. Once complete, the collection will be open to the public from May 1st to October 31st during the weekends and for scheduled groups. The museum will educate visitors about world history from WWI to Iraq and honor our Veterans through the display of historical exhibits, military equipment, docent conducted tours, living history events and artifact preservation (architect rendering featured below).
On Wednesday August 6th, the Collings Foundation had the second public Planning Board meeting. Because some people commented at the public review that the Foundation’s programs and museum are not educational, the Stow Planning board is challenging our 501c3 educational non-profit status. One of the board members has expressed doubts that our museum, collection, programs and events (both locally and nationally) are educational (we are not making this up). This same board member has also proposed that the town has not properly sanctioned our Stow events.
Since 1979 the Collings Foundation has been a 501c3 educational foundation based in Stow, Massachusetts with “the charitable, scientific and educational purposes of establishing and operating a museum for the study, preservation and public exhibition of articles of cultured, scientific and historic importance and for the education of the public with respect to such articles.”
Many of you know that a large part of the Foundation’s efforts go into the annual national Wings of Freedom tour (a traveling museum) and Vietnam Memorial Flight. The Wings of Freedom tour around the country features the B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator and P-51 Mustang. This is the longest-lived and most extensive historical aircraft tour in the world. Like the Vietnam Memorial Flight, the objective is to educate people about this history through truly unforgettable living history experiences. Of course, honoring our Veterans and the sacrifices made to preserve our freedom is a core part of all of our efforts. In 2009 the Air Force Museum recognized the Collings Foundation with its highest honor in the field of aerospace education, the Hoyt Vandenberg Award. Since 1979, the Collings Foundation has organized over 3,000 events. (Photo: Medal of Honor Recipient Frank Currey in the Foundation’s M-16 half-track)
We are asking for your help. Please send an email or letter to the Collings Foundation (addressed to the Stow, MA Planning Board) expressing your support of the Collings Foundation’s goals and purposes and endorse its educational living history events, including the construction of the proposed new museum facility. Personal stories about how the Collings Foundation has affected you and / or your family particularly through an educational experience are encouraged. Letters will be forwarded to the Planning Board prior to next meeting scheduled on September 10th. In order for us to effectively summarize the letters and include them in our presentation we request they be sent to us by the first week of September.
To send an email to Hunter Chaney at the Collings Foundation:
To send written letter mail to:
PO Box 248
Stow, MA 01775
Editors Note: Please remember that the most effective letters of support must be polite first and foremost, while staying firmly in the Collings Foundation’s corner. Invective and vitriol will only hurt our common cause, rather than help it, despite how this news may make some of us feel.