The following Q & As have been complied by the Security Forces Museum Foundation (SFMF) and the Air Force Security Forces Association (AFSFA) to address questions surfacing from the closure of the Security Forces Museum. They are presented here in an attempt to bring clarity to of the common issues and assist factual discussions.
Security Forces (SF) Museum Fact Sheet:
Q. Who is the Security Forces Museum Foundation (SFMF)?
A. The SFMF is comprised of hundreds of members, past and present Defenders holding annual or life memberships, with its affairs managed by a Board of Trustees. The board members all have lengthy Air Police, Security Police or Security Forces backgrounds and come from the enlisted, civilian and officer ranks and none receive compensation for their service.
Q. What is the mission of the SFMF?
A. The mission of SFMF is to provide capital support for the SF Museum for facility improvement and expansion of those projects for which USAF funding is not available. The objectives of the SFMF is to: 1. foster and perpetuate the SF Museum as a medium of informing and educating the public on the importance of the Security Forces; 2. serve as a philanthropic nonprofit corporation (IRS tax code 501(c)(3)) in assisting the development and expansion of the facilities; and, 3. receive, hold and administer monetary gifts received from persons, other organizations, foundations and philanthropies in the best interest of the SF Museum.
Q. What is the SFMF responsible for?
A. The SFMF works with and supports the museum curator and staff but has no operational control over the facility, curator or staff and no directive voice to their or the host Wings chain of command.
Q. What will happen to the funds the SFMF has raised?
A. The funds the SFMF has raised and holds remain available to the board of trustees to use for SF displays. Until a clearer picture develops regarding the future of the SF Museum the funds will be held and not obligated for any purpose. As an added note, the SFMF in concert with the curator were in the middle of a $10K technology upgrade which included 10 new monitors with video players on custom built stands to show various eras, programs and specific historical events in the history of the SF career field. Additionally, the SFMF committed funds toward the upgrade and redevelopment of the Military Working Dog exhibit. This too will be on hold until such time as the formation of the “bridge facility” is determined.
Q. I am a SFMF member … what does that mean?
A. Your membership, whether it is an annual or life membership, means you are a member of the SFMF and clearly shows your heartfelt, personal and professional support for the SF Museum and the importance of the museums existence and the story it tells so proudly. The SFMF appreciates every members support, works to constantly improve the SF Museum and will continue to represent you in future efforts.
Q. I know Defenders raised the money for our museum so how can the AF or AETC tell us they are shutting the doors? Don’t we own it?
A. Like other museums located on military installations, “No”. It is against the law for services to fund and build museums. That is exactly why museum foundations exist. They raise the funds and build museums and then gift them to the service. Once the service accepts the facility they own it. This also means they are responsible for the maintenance of the facility and utilities. The same even extends to what we would think are “maintenance free” facilities like statues. A great example is the new military working dog memorial constructed at JBSA-Lackland. The memorial was completely paid for with donations but the foundation responsible for the memorial upkeep (mowing grass, trimming nearby trees, repairing sprinklers) still needed to pay the AF or the entity responsible for maintaining it another $75K for maintenance in perpetuity … which means taking care of the grounds around it forever.
Q. I gave some of my own personal property (items, documents, pictures, uniforms) to the SF Museum. Who owns those items now? What will happen to those items?
A. All items donated to the AF through museums are accessed into AF collections and then become AF property. As such all items in the SF Museum will remain the property of the AF and be retained in a museum collection. AF museums are required to secure, record and routinely inventory their entire collections as they are accountable for all the collection. An inventory at the SF Museum was just completed (21 Aug 14) and all collection items were found present. On rare occasions some items are specifically loaned to museums but that is the exception and the SF Museum only had official AF artwork on loan on 15 August and that has been recovered by the wing historian office. Otherwise, there are no loaned items in the SF Museum collection.
Q. Will the SF Museum collection go into storage? If so where? If so who will move the items?
A. This is not yet known nor confirmed. Should parts of the collection need to be stored the AF museum representatives will follow the specific guidelines as set forth in AFI 84-103 to safely and securely store the items. These processes are designed so the items are preserved for future use when additional space or the need for a new display exists.
Q. The last time I was at the SF Museum I did not see my donated items on display … why?
A. Museum collections and holding are typically much larger than what is on display at any given time. The museums construct and arrange displays based on their collection contents and change displays constantly. When new theme displays are presented other displays are pulled off the floor to make room and to refresh them.
Q. Can a person who donated an item to an AF museum collection get their item back?
A. The answer is “No”. A person who has donated items to the historical collection has voluntarily given, transferred, conveyed and assigned the property to the Secretary of the Air Force, acting on behalf of the United States of America, including all rights to the property.
Q. What will happen to the SF Museum building?
A. Unfortunately we do not know that at this time. We have not been briefed on any plans revealing further details regarding the current building and its future role.
Q. Some news articles refer to a “bridge facility”. What is that and where will it be located?
A. The term “bridge facility” describes an existing building on JBSA-Lackland where both the Airman Heritage Museum and the SF Museum will collocate until the new Enlisted Heritage and Character Development Center is built as their permanent home. The only existing facility mentioned to date as a possible “bridge facility” is the base library on JBSA-Lackland.
Q. Who directed the closing of the SF Museum? Was this really a surprise to the SF leadership and SFMF?
A. At this time we do not know who directed the closing of the SF Museum and like many others we are attempting to discover that and understand the rationale for providing the SF career field and the SFMF just two weeks-notice. Although as each day goes by it appears more details are being discovered.
The SFMF and AFSFA will continue to add to this list and post updated facts as they become confirmed.