Volunteer spirit thrives at heritage hall museum
By Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo, 36th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 19, 2016
ANDERSERN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Tucked in the 734th Air Mobility Squadron passenger terminal is a collection of artifacts that show Andersen Air Force Base’s rich heritage. Uniformed mannequins, paintings, photographs, models of planes and glass covered panels of written history fill the museum, telling the story of Andersen AFB dating back to 1921.
The museum is managed by Jeffrey Meyer, 36th Wing historian, and Master Sgt. Rorique Vernon, 36th Maintenance Squadron accessories flight chief, who also volunteers as a 36th Wing historical property custodian.
As the historian, Meyer documents Andersen’s current history as it is made every day and oversees the museum.
“I provide museum tours and inform visitors on Andersen’s history,” said Meyer. “Additionally, we keep the museum clean and update our exhibits.”
While Vernon spends most of his duty day with the 36th MXS accessories flight, overseeing permanent party and deployed maintenance personnel that work on aircraft electrical, environmental, fuel and egress systems, he also assists Meyer by managing the museums inventory.
“As historical property custodian for the 36th Wing, I ensure historical artifacts from the National Museum of the United States Air Force are properly taken care of, preserved and displayed,” Vernon said. “Annually, I work with them to perform a review of the artifacts, so they can ascertain the current condition of each item.”
The museum has the largest collection of artifacts in PACAF on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force, according to Vernon.
Bringing new artifacts into the museum can be difficult, Vernon added. Most of the time, items need to be refurbished, which requires hours of researching the correct way to restore it.
While the restoration process is challenging, it is quite an exciting moment for Meyer.
“Bringing in new artifacts is like a treasure hunt for me and the museum's guests,” Meyer said. “It's exciting because we've found a piece of history to share with people who may not know about it.”
The existing exhibits are protected and preserved by keeping the room at an appropriate temperature and placing ultraviolet ray filters on the lights, which preserve the artifacts’ color.
The biggest challenge the museum faces is finding the time, resources and volunteers to make improvements and construct new displays, Vernon said. To meet the needs of the museum, Meyer and Vernon often work on their own time or build models at home.
“This heritage hall could not exist without volunteers,” Meyer said. “There’s no way that I could do it alone.”
Even with Meyer and Vernon’s work, there is still much to do, which is why additional volunteers who share their skills are valuable to the museum and its growth, according to Vernon.
The museum is open 24/7 for viewing and is always looking for volunteers. Those interested in volunteering should contact the historian’s office at 671-366-2111.