Preserving Stories

The single, most important thing you can do to record your stories is to preserve your photographs, model airplanes, and the other objects that are vital to you. It is through the stories you tell about your objects that convey their meaning. When this context is known by others, it helps them realize how important these belongings are and that makes them more likely to want to care for them. 

Bill Winter, Joe Kovel, John Zaic, and Hurst Bowers share stories with each other during a 1980s visit to the museum. Read Hurst’s account of the visit in Model Aviation, March 1986.

 So how do you preserve stories? The simplest thing to do is to tell someone. Share your memories during your next family dinner. Use them as bedtime stories for your grandkids. Just share. 

If you want your stories to be more permanent than memory, write them down or record yourself telling them (with either audio or with video), or partner with someone and record an oral history.

Text on the back of a photograph, reading, “This one (McCoy .49) was fastest of all, but no good for contest as it was not smooth on controls. Best timed speed 134 mph. 8/9 [or] 8/10 Grish or Rev. up [prop] Thanks for Looking.”
Here’s the front of that photograph, for those who are curious. Source: National Model Aviation Museum Collection, donated James D. Walter, 1985.23.01. Photograph provided by the donor.

After that’s done, the focus shifts to preserving the media that story is on. The American Library Association has some good tips for preserving different types of mediaFor a great introductory source on how to do your own oral history, check out the Minnesota Historical Society’s advice. 

The National Model Aviation Museum is preserving stories through the AMA’s History Program. The History Program asks modelers to tell the story of their (or a friend’s) modeling career.  Each individual’s story tells that person’s history. Together they all tell the history of model aviation. We encourage you to contribute your story.  This guide gives advice for how.  

If you want more advice about preserving your stories, feel free to ask your questions on the museum’s Facebook page or by emailing staff directly at  



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