The major challenge of 2019, negotiating new leases, has been met by extending our existing leases. The 2018 End of Year Appeal for donations successfully concluded in early January. The 3rd Annual Celebration of Flight Dinner and Auction planning is underway. An ambitious “Taking History to the Public” events schedule is on tap. And, the Capital Improvement Task Force has identified another potential museum site.

Because last year’s property purchase negotiations were unsuccessful, 2019’s major goal was to obtain extensions of our expiring leases. A variety of options, including moving part of the museum, were considered. In the end, we chose to extend the leases at our existing location for three years with a significant reduction in rents. This gives us a “secure home” while seeking a new location – more later.

The annual End of Year Appeal for donations raised just over $15,800 with some donations still trickling in; a 15% increase over 2017 and our best ever End of Year Appeal. Thank you to all who contributed.

Our major fundraising event is the annual Celebration of Flight Dinner and Auction. The event Steering Committee started work last fall. Mark your calendar for Saturday 18 May at 5:30 PM. The Oak Harbor Elks Lodge at 155 NE Ernst Street is our venue and the meal will be provided by outstanding local caterer, Zanini Catering and Events. Seats are $75. Reservations can be made at 360-240-9500 or info@pbymf.org.

As spring approaches, we start a busy schedule of parades and community events where we present history to a broad public audience. Our replica aircraft carrier is in high demand. A Korean-era, 1954 M211 General Motors Corporation (with a cadillac transmission) nicknamed “Rebecca,” truck was added to our collection last year and we are working to make it a part of our parade repertoire. Of course, Pacific Flying Boats’ flying PBY-5A will be a big attraction at several events this year. See the schedule elsewhere in this Cat Chat – we hope to see you at one or more events.

Searching since late last summer, the Capital Improvement Task Force has identified a prospective site north of Oak Harbor. Owned by the City of Oak Harbor, the land is expected to go on the market in the near future. As before, due diligence must be done and there are no guarantees; but the Task Force has determined that this property suits our needs if a purchase agreement can be completed.

If an agreement is reached, the museum will be launching a major capital fundraising campaign to affect the purchase. This will be the largest fund raising undertaking in our history. But as our Board Chair, Jim Siggens, explains in his Cat Chat contribution, volunteers have made an enormous investment in our museum over many years. We are approaching a moment to match their investment with dollars to bring our museum to its full potential.

Thank you for supporting the PBY-Naval Air Museum. We hope you will join us in reaching new heights!