By Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Gathering dust in the attic, a donation to a consignment store, or neatly packed away in a footlocker is where many military items find their final resting place.
Sometimes, however, these items end up being donated to a museum collection — getting a new lease on life — just as one retro uniform did at the Peterson Air and Space Museum.
“You never know what part of history you are going to represent during your time in the military. That uniform would have ended up in a bin somewhere at a Goodwill store; my friend talked me into donating it,” said Ramon Duron, now a systems architect with U.S. Strategic Command.
Duron donated his uniform, which is representative of the 1st Space Wing era and the early days of the stand-up of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, to the Peterson Air and Space Museum. The last time Duron saw what was then his daily uniform was when he picked it up from the cleaners after being starched in the early ‘80s.
Putting the uniform on display is part of the museum’s mission to share history.
“This display here at the ID card center is a way to take things on the road, to show some of our history in other places here on base,” said Jeff Nash, 21st Space Wing museum deputy director and curator. “This is a high-visibility area where people can see it, ask questions about it or walk across the street to the museum to see more.”
Duron’s blouse, featuring a sky-blue ascot and bearing the emblem of the 1st SW, is on display in a glass case located in the waiting area of the military personnel section in building 350.
“That was a part of my career, it meant a lot to me and to see the uniform come back out and be displayed — it is an honor to be a part of history. I have been a part of the 21st Space Wing family since the very beginning,” said Duron.
But before you start rummaging through your collection of old military gear looking to donate something to the museum, keep in mind they can’t accept everything.
“We get a lot of calls from people wanting to donate items and we do consider them all but we have to be very selective. The final decision on whether we can accept that item into the collection is based on the scope of what we are looking for,” said Nash, “We have limited space … we look more for items that represent time periods and missions associated to the base and our history here.”
“We have a collections policy — a scope of collection — most of the time we are collecting items to support either a new exhibit we are creating at the museum or an existing exhibit that we are looking to update with newer artifacts.”
Having an item accepted into the Peterson museum collection and displayed for all to see does not happen very often, but when it does, it’s an honor.
“It brings back a lot of memories and now I can show my kids when I bring them over here to get their ID cards,” said Duron.
“Every service branch has its own legacy; the Navy, Marine Corps and the Army. The Air Force has already found itself; we are building our on legacy and it sure is fun to be a part of it,” he added.
To learn more about the Peterson Air and Space Museum, visit http://www.petemuseum.org/.