The Kansas City Military Collectors Club is an organization with almost 60 members from throughout the greater Kansas City area. The members are devoted to military history, and one of the club's objectives is to promote and perpetuate the collecting and preservation of all forms of militaria, through meetings, displays, and shows.
Eight years ago the club formed a partnership with the National WW I Museum in Kansas City for a day long Collectors Day at the museum. The museum provided the space, and the club members provided tables and military artifacts to be displayed on the tables for the public to see, learn from, and enjoy.
But something happened at the eighth annual display show last March. The club coordinator heard nothing from the museum coordinator for several months regarding a 9th annual show for March 2013.
Then out of the blue in August, the acting CEO of the museum sent an email to the club coordinator saying in part "We have heard much positive feedback (about the 2012 show), and beyond Memorial and Veterans Day this event was the largest single item in our public program budget for 2012.
"The Museum is in a period of transition and can no longer host the Military Collectors Fair going forward. We appreciate the work and support of the Kansas City Military Collectors Club, and the personal investment of many of its members."
Just like that, an eight year partnership to allow the public to see and appreciate military history was ended.
A letter from the club coordinator to the museum coordinator in mid-December, offering the display to the museum free of any cost to the museum, went unanswered. It was obvious that for unspecified reasons, the museum was not interested in a 9th annual show for the public to enjoy.
But the club was not dismayed. The coordinator was charged by the membership to find an alternate site for a 9th annual show, and one was quickly found.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the public announcement that the 9th annual Military Collectors Day display show will be…. right here in River City, Leavenworth, Kansas.
The Heritage Center said it would be more than pleased to have the show in its spacious building, so that's where it will be. Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so you can be one of the hundreds of viewers to see never before seen by the public military artifacts from the private collections of club members.
Unlike February's military show at the Riverfront Community Center, nothing will be for sale. This will be a display show only. The public isinvited to come see military artifacts from centuries of warfare and ask questions of the displayers.
Page 2 of 2 - I haven't mentioned the best news that entry to this first time ever show in Leavenworth is free to the public. As part of the club's educational outreach program, the club is paying all expenses forputting on the show. All the public has to do is attend. Attendance is free.
One resident who heard about the show asked "Will it come back to Leavenworth again?" It can come from now until forevermore, but only if people go see it. The club is buying a clicker to record how many people go, and if attendance is more than at the WW I Museum, then yes, it will certainly return to Leavenworth.
But if the clicker doesn't click often enough, another place will be sought. There will be another column about this event, with more details. But, put it on your calendar now.
John Reichley is a retired Army officer and retired Department of the Army civilian employee.