Due to a cracked and sinking concrete slab floor in the collection storage area of the international women pilots’ organization, The Ninety-Nines, Inc., is putting its aviation collection at risk. The problem was discovered during a remodeling project in the headquarters building.
In fulfillment of its mission statement to “preserve the unique history of women in aviation,” The 99s has elected to replace both the slab and the ground fill underneath the slab in that area.
President Elaine Morrow said, “We acknowledge our responsibility to our donors and members, and our role as steward of this aviation collection. To provide for its care and accessibility to researchers, our Board of Directors committed to a course of action that will provide not only a strong physical and scholarly foundation but also the best long-term solution to this potentially overwhelming situation.”
The collection is temporarily stored in The 99s Museum where it is being thoroughly catalogued, inventoried and re-housed in new storage media. After completion, the entire collection will be searchable via a collections software program that will include a digital image of the object.
According to Dr. Jacque Boyd, author and Amelia Earhart Research Grant coordinator, the new system will “benefit researchers immensely by making identification and retrieval of materials almost instantaneous.”
As part of the remodeling, an isolated control system that maintains optimum temperature and humidity levels and a new fire suppression system were installed. Ceiling tiles were removed to eliminate the potential for moisture. A new shelving system and cabinets have been ordered, but the project is at a standstill until the floor is completed.
For over 50 years, The 99s has been collecting artifacts that represent the successes and failures of women throughout aviation history. The collection includes photographs, newspaper and magazine articles, letters, many first edition books, personal artifacts such as pilot certificates and jewelry, and equipment like plotters, compasses, and charts, including the original navigation charts drawn for Amelia Earhart for her failed, first, around-the-world attempt in March, 1937.
The 99s displays its collection in two museums, The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, KS, and The 99s Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma City.
If you’d like to assist The 99s in preserving this important part of aviation history, contact Headquarters Manager Liz Lundin at 800-994-1929 or mail your tax-deductible donation to The Ninety-Nines, Inc., 4300 Amelia Earhart Rd., Oklahoma City, OK 73159-1140.
Editor’s Note: The 99’s are an incredible organization that have helped countless people over the years. This includes such things as painting airport identification markings and taxiways. Time for us to give back, so please help.