Monday, March 23, 2015

The 2015 Women In Aviation Conference

The Woman's Collection booth at the 26th annual Women in Aviation Conference held March 5-7, 2015.
The female pilots of Sikorsky, a United Technologies Company, deemed it the best of the conference.  Shown,
Woman's Collection staff members (L-R) Bethany Ross, Digital Curator; Erica Block, Library Assistant; and
Kimberly Johnson, Coordinator of Special Collections.
On March 5-7, 2015, staff members of the Woman's Collection of the Texas Woman's University Libraries represented TWU, the libraries and the collection at the 26th  Annual Women in Aviation Conference in Dallas.  With over 5,000 in attendance, these passionate and dedicated advocates had the opportunity to educate hundreds about the mission of the Woman's Collection to preserve, promote and protect women's history.

Relationships were cultivated and solidified, invitations extended, impressions made. The highlights of the conference were many, including the following.
The female pilots of Sikorsky, a United Technologies Company, deemed the Woman's Collection booth the best of the conference.  Sikorsky, the global leader in the design, manufacture and service of military and commercial helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, is the designer responsible for the Black Hawk helicopter used by the U.S. military.
Invitations were once again extended to the Woman's Collection from the planners of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the largest gathering of pilots and aviation enthusiasts in the United States.  The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) have a 30+ year-old tradition of attending; the WASP Archive is housed in the Woman's Collection on the Denton campus of TWU. 
WAI Conference Fun  The Woman's Collection of the TWU Libraries was well-represented at the 26th
annual Women in Aviation Conference held March 5-7, 2015.  First row (L-R) Erica Block, Library Assistant;
and Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) Dawn Seymour, 43-5.  Second row (L-R) Bethany Ross, Digital
Curator; Sherilyn Bird, Dean of TWU Libraries; and Kimberly Johnson, Coordinator of Special Collections.  
Sun ‘n Fun, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of aviation education, also extended an invitation to the Woman’s Collection to present a program about their efforts to preserve, capture and promote the history of women in the aviation industry.  
The Woman’s Collection began discussions several years ago with Steven Moore--longtime president, advocate and dedicated marketer of the National Gay Pilots Association (NPGA)--about that organization's history and its representation of pilots marginalized and made invisible because of their sexual orientation.  Moore died in a plane crash in 2014, but the Woman’s Collection is committed to ensuring that his work goes on.  Conversations at the conference with NPGA members and officers were a continuation of an open dialogue with the NPGA, begun with Moore, about establishing the National Gay Pilot Association Archive at Texas Woman’s University.
Kimberly Johnson, Coordinator of Special Collections, said it best.  "Cultivating these relationships takes time and energy. It is important that we convey to potential donors that their records, materials and stories matter as much to us as they do to them. These groups are entrusting us with their history--and in essence, their lives."

Women in Aviation International is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization dedicated to providing networking, education, mentoring and scholarship opportunities for women (and men) striving for challenging and fulfilling careers in the aviation and aerospace industries.

The Woman's Collection of the Texas Woman's University Libraries is the largest depository in the Southern United States of research material about women.  

~Sandy Cochran and Kimberly Johnson

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