I believe it is so important to keep history alive, from an old tall ship, homestead, old train, old planes, old cars and many more. It is important that these things are kept to give younger people the opportunity to experience them, giving them an appreciation of how things used to be. The issue that always comes into this is how to fund keeping these beautiful old things alive. Sure, restoring things and keeping them as a static display is better than nothing, but I believe the real magic is letting people be able to experience them working.
If you can give a person the opportunity to fly in an old plane, hear how noisy it is, feel how much it vibrates and how fast it flies. What type of appreciation does that person have compared to someone who sees the same aircraft at a static display?
I have worked with a few of these types of organisations including the Enterprize ship which is a replica of the ship what bought the first settlers to Melbourne, where I was on the committee as the marketing manager for 2 years. In this role I was able to design some new packages that sold extremely well and open up a number of new marketing channels.
I also sold packages for many of these types of organisations such as a DC3 (1940’s passenger plane), P51 mustangs (WW2 fighter), classic cars and old sailing ships.
I certainly learnt a lot from these experience and understand there are a lot of challenges when trying to keeping these things alive and still running and it is getting more challenging.
I understand it is a lot more expensive to keep something running then it is to have things as a static display, but the reward is far greater too. It also opens up and new income stream, that if done right can cover the costs of keeping it running. It can also create a lot more excitement then people just visiting a static display.
Other issues like finding parts and getting it registered to take paying passengers can also be difficult. Also finding volunteer or skilled crew is always a challenge, just because some people have plenty of time on their hands doesn’t mean they are the best person for the job. From my experience sometimes it can work out a lot cheaper to pay the right person then trying to get everything for free.
So yes it is going to be challenging, but there are plenty of examples around Australia and the world of how this can be done really well. We all need to get creative with how to give people an experience and keep these things running.
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