08/03/12 — First results in from survey

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First results in from survey

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on August 3, 2012 1:46 PM

Conversations about names and mission statements began in earnest Thursday afternoon as the Air Force Museum Citizen Committee met and studied preliminary demographic results from its community survey held earlier this year.

There were 482 submitted surveys, which came through in-person interviews and online and paper surveys.

Analysis of the data is still under way, and a full report on the results of the surveys is expected Aug. 27.

More than 78 percent of submitted surveys came from people older than 39, while more than 66 percent of people surveyed reported they had no children in the home.

Nearly 85 percent of those who responded were white, with 56.2 percent indicating they were male.

The data most related to the Air Force Museum shared in the preliminary report concerned museum visits, as 40 percent said they had visited a museum two to three times within the past two years and 30.5 percent indicating they had visited four times or more.

Additionally, the online surveys provided for more detailed demographic information to be shared, showing that 30 percent of responders were grandparents, while 25.9 percent were parents with children at home. Nearly a third of those who responded indicated they did not fit any of the given categories, selecting other. Employees at Goldsboro businesses represented 22.4 percent of those surveyed, educators made up 12.9 percent, 10.2 percent work either in farming or agriculture, 9.5 percent are stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and 1.6 percent of the 451 online surveys were answered by youths or teens. Because some participants identified with more than one category, the percentages do not add up to 100.

Apart from the study, discussion centered on the selection of the museum's mission statement and name, with committee members setting to the task of discussing those aspects of the museum for the first time.

Although the cultural center has been referred to as an Air Force museum since the committee began, 4th Fighter Wing historian Roy Heidicker said he felt the term "Air Force Museum" could serve as a misnomer considering the size of the building that's being proposed to contain it.

"I worry about it setting people up for disappointment," Heidicker said.

He suggested incorporating "volunteer" into the name, as both the original Eagle Squadrons with the Royal Air Force and those on base now are volunteers, despite the drafts in between.

That word didn't resonate with the group, but his suggestion of getting the phrase "Aces and Heroes" in the title was well-received.

Heidicker explained that an "Air Force Museum" would lead to visitors expecting lots of planes while Aces and Heroes implies it will be focused on people -- something that's more easily done with the small building the city has at 2406 E. Ash St.

The name discussions will continue into the committee's Aug. 15 meeting, as well as its Aug. 22 meeting if necessary, along with talks about the mission statement, which attracted opinions from different schools of thought.

Dan Murphy, one of the consultants who joined the meeting by teleconference, argued that the term "STEM," referencing the center's focus on science, technology, engineering and math, should remain in the mission statement, while those at the meeting said they wanted a broader term concerning the museum's education element.

Murphy insisted that STEM projects are more likely to get funding at the state and federal levels, but it seemed the committee had soured on the idea, not wanting to limit itself.

It was a stark contrast to earlier meetings -- the last one was in early June -- where incorporating STEM into the museum and its mission appeared to be paramount.

Discussions also differed from earlier meetings as the committee members all spoke openly about including all wings at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, something Chairman Jimmie Edmundson said was never far from the minds of committee members.

A focus on the 4th Fighter Wing wouldn't mean the museum would exclude the other wings, he explained.

"It's never been our intent to omit anyone," he said.

Edmundson said due to spacing issues, the museum's scope would need to be limited to an extent, meaning permanent displays would likely center on the storied past of the 4th Fighter Wing, but temporary exhibits and other displays would ensure that all wings at the base, including those who are no longer stationed there, would feel included.

The committee meets again Aug. 15 at 2 p.m.