In concert with its advocacy role, the Board promoted the need for continued financial support for the Museum from NAMS membership. By the 2000s the results permitted an annual donation of funds from NAMS to support a wide variety of projects ranging from preserving and restoring the collection to programs for visitors and electronic outreach. In total, from 1994 to 2018 NAMS donated over $140,000 to priority work. Key NAMS seed funded successes include the following projects.
NAMS underwent a major revitalization in 2020 with the retirement of many long serving directors and the recruitment of a slate of new directors representing a broad cross section of the Canadian aviation and space community. The National Aviation Museum Society is now able to offer CASM the services of a wide array of aviation experts and specialists who have been or are currently practicing executive, management, supervisory or operational responsibilities in the Canadian aviation and space sectors. The aggregate experience of the current NAMS team is summarized below.
Key Sector Expertise
Military flight operations and training;
Civil flight operations, training and maintenance;
Civil space operations and maintenance;
Civil air traffic services development and operations; and
Military and civil airport development, operations, training and maintenance.
Specialty Sub Sector Expertise
Cross-Cutting Themes Expertise
Air defence and civil support operations;
Search and rescue operations;
Air carrier scheduled and charter operations;
Satellite operations and astronomy;
Aviation training institution development and operations;
Remote, austere and exploratory air operations;
Industrial oil, gas and mining air operations; and
Recreational flying and civil air competitions.
Aviation museum organization, management, development and operations;
Women in civil and military aviation;
Demographic diversity in aviation;
First Nations participation in aviation;
Professional civil, mechanical, electrical, systems and avionics engineers; and
Educators, historians, writers, accounting and book-keeping skill sets.
Under the direction of its newly recruited volunteer Board, NAMS plans to continue its two vital legacy roles, advocacy and financial support.
The first, advocacy can be used when a voice outside the Museum is necessary. History has demonstrated that it doesn’t happen often but when it is needed the results can be a game changer.
The second, financial support where experience shows that an independent entity is dedicated to supporting the CASM and provides an excellent adjunct to the Museum’s own efforts to generate revenues to fund its work. It also provides tangible evidence of broad public support.
Future Focus of the New Board
CASM however has changed as has society. Visitor demographics and expectations 40 years after World War II were quite different from those of today, where we are now some 80 years beyond the war. CASM now serves a larger, more aware and diverse audience seeking an educational experience across a myriad of new aviation and space disciplines. Many visitors seek knowledge of the future as well as the past. In order to provide the museum with help in the areas of most demand and need, the new NAMS Board has undertaken a study of CASM needs now and into the near future. This study revealed a number of potential projects that will require advocacy and financial help for CASM to achieve. NAMS will further analyze these projects and focus on those that best fit the resources of NAMS to support and CASM priorities.
CASM Scope and Audience Expansion
The transformation of the Canada Aviation Museum into the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (CASM) in May 2010 brought with it the potential to highlight Canada’s legacy of contributions to space exploration and robotics. In May 2013, Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Canadarm went on display, with the unveiling including a video link with astronaut Chris Hadfield on the International Space Station (ISS).
Canada has been a pioneer in space for several decades, with crucial contributions to the Apollo program, ISS, space weather monitoring, spacecraft robotics, and satellite communications. In late 2020, the announcements of Canada’s involvement at both public and private levels in the Artemis and Lunar gateway programs bring with it the opportunity to showcase past, present and future contributions across generations. Upcoming museum developments include the creation of facilities dedicated to terrestrial and space-based robotics, as well as drone technology.
In addition, the rapid expansion of social media and internet access in the past few decades brings with it the possibly to reach and attract a broader audience, while also providing a path to expanding public support. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the necessity of incorporating some level of remote or virtual exhibits alongside existing infrastructure. The NAMS expertise highlighted earlier will undoubtedly benefit CASM in these aspects.
Current Museum Needs
CASM has identified needs in many areas where NAMS support could be used to complete existing projects or initiate new projects or programs . Some are museum program and facility projects which are already underway but still others will require additional resources to get underway and examples include:
Museum outreach projects in the areas of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) topics as well as Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics (STEAM) topics;
Supporting the creation of new content for the museum exhibit islands thereby enhancing the museum visitor experience;
Continued restoration of aircraft such as the North Star; and
Development of new museum facilities and exhibits dedicated to the areas of terrestrial and space based robotics and Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) (commonly known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs).
NAMS has been fortunate since inception to have a generous membership base who have paid their annual dues and donated to NAMS in order to continue the financing of CASM projects and advocacy as required. However NAMS, like many organizations, has seen a declining membership as generations pass. Consequently, as part of the NAMS renewal process, a project is underway to expand the NAMS membership base. This will be accomplished by surveying our existing members to better understand what aspects of NAMS attracted them in the first place and how NAMS can evolve to provide better value to our existing membership and attract new members with similar interests and support ideals.
Why support the National Aviation Museum Society?
Just as Canada’s transcontinental railway united the country from coast to coast and facilitated westward expansion and settlement of the country, aviation was the next evolution in technology. It was a key catalyst in the expansion and settlement of this nation geographically northward. Supporting NAMS will permit the Society to continue its financial and advocacy support of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. CASM is not only a unique cultural institution within Canada but is also unique as one of only three national museums in the world to house collections of both aviation and space artifacts with national significance. CASM has an international reputation as one of the finest aviation and space collections in the world.
Each aircraft, piece of technology, document, photograph, film or video held in the collection holds a specific connection to Canadian history.
The artifacts on display in the CASM facilities, the information in the archives and on CASM’s web site and social media tell the story of Canada’s people from the inception of aviation to Canada’s role in space exploration. It is a story as much about people as it is about aviation and space technology. Without an institution like CASM, the history of Canada’s place in the world of aviation and space would be lost to the ravages of time. Through support of NAMS this Society can continue to build on the past successes in advocacy work on behalf of the museum and the sourcing of financial support to seed fund new projects and programs.