The AOSHS Board of Directors exerted significant efforts and resources to construct a museum from 1998 through 2007. Although many potential funding sources were explored by the AOSHS Board of Directors, sufficient funding did not materialize for the proposed museum’s buildings. For the project designed by a Wichita architectural firm, over fifteen million dollars was needed to construct the facility on the site provided by the City of Wichita.
After plans for the museum were scrapped in 2007, AOSHS’s current property at 704 and 708 W. Douglas Avenue became the center for AOSHS operations and the storage facility for the archives. For the next ten years no progress was made with respect to establishing a museum. As recently as July 2017, the Board of Directors was calculating how long AOSHS could remain a viable organization and estimated it could remain solvent for five to six more years.
Fortunately, after that bleak forecast, DoDEA forged a partnership with AOSHS in the latter part of 2017. This partnership has been the catalyst for a resurgence of AOSHS as a vibrant organization. A museum at the Wichita location will open this winter, all yearbooks in the AOSHS archives will be scanned and available to the public growth in the fall of 2019 and by 2021 all memorabilia/artifacts should be digitized and available online. The transformation from an organization struggling to survive to the vibrant organization today has been remarkable.
Membership dues and donations are still needed to sustain this momentum. The future will also depend on the continuing development of the archives into perpetuity since there are never any financial guarantees. Please spread the word and help us find additional funding.