Unless I state otherwise, everything in this little museum is my work. Me? Let me explain.
My name is Leigh Edmonds and I’ve been a scale modeller for fifty years. My work in establishing this museum is the result of my experiences and influences over those years and my general interest in aviation, particularly civil aviation.
For the first 22 years of my working life I was employed in the Head Office of the Australian government’s Department of Civil Aviation and its successors. After I resigned from that role I became a student and completed a Doctorate in history (civil aviation as it happens) in 1993 and have since worked as an academic and professional historian (You can find my cv here.)
During the second half of the 1990s I also worked as a volunteer at the RAAF Association’s Aviation Heritage Museum of Western Australia and also studied a course in basic museology. As a result of those experiences I began to think of my model making as an exercise in building up a collection much in the same way that a museum builds a collection around particular themes. You will see this in the current preponderance of civil aircraft, French aircraft and a smattering of US Navy aircraft in this museum. (Over time, and with the help of others, I plan to broaden out the collection policy of this museum.)
Through my work with the Aviation Heritage Museum of Western Australia I gained the opportunity to visit some of the world’s great aviation museums and talk to some of their behind-the-scenes leaders. The problems they face have many similarities: how to store, display and preserve large aircraft being perhaps the most difficult. Even the largest and best funded aviation museums face immense difficulties in building and maintaining their aircraft collections and presenting them to the general public. I began to wonder how much more simple their work would be if their main exhibits, their aircraft, were small and easily stored like the collection of aircraft I was building and storing in my garage.
As these thoughts were bubbling away at the back of my mind and my collection was growing (it currently numbers 776 individual models) the digital age was emerging, though I was too busy to do much about it. In 2018 I finally found time to set up a simple web site, Leigh Edmonds Little Box of Stuff, which I originally intended to use as a repository for my historical and other writing. However, to fill out the site, I also included pictures and commentary about my scale modelling. Very quickly that content began to attract the most traffic and over time has swamped anything else I put on that site. I haven’t helped the situation by reprinting on that site almost everything I’ve written about modelling for the newsletter of our local scale modelling club, The Modellers of Ballarat, since about 2000.
A couple of years later the growth in that modelling related traffic led me to begin thinking about the possibility of separating the scale modelling content from the rest of Leigh Edmonds Little Box of Stuff into a new website. With that thought came the idea of using scale models to do what the best aviation museums do, use their exhibits to educate and tell stories about aviation. Sure, scale models are no substitute for the real thing (remind me to tell you about the time I sat on the float of the Supermarine S6B drinking bubbly while chatting to a BEA cabin hostess from the 1950s) but I can’t think of any aviation museum which has over 700 aircraft in its collection, all of them waiting to tell stories about aviation and the hobby of scale modelling.
The Little Aviation Museum has emerged from these experiences and ideas. After my own feeble attempts to create a website this one has been built by Cherie Brown of Ascet Digital who has gone well beyond the call of duty to create the kind of website I imagined. Indeed, Cherie’s imagination and creativity has made The Little Aviation Museum that you see much better in many ways than I could have hoped for. Our aim has been to create the experience of visiting – in digital space – a real aviation museum and enjoying everything they have to offer.
I also want to thank my wife, Valma Brown, for buying this website for me as a Christmas present, it is sure to keep me happily busy for many years to come. I hope this website will also keep you interested and entertained for many years to come. Maintaining and developing a website like this is not an inexpensive proposition and will need some financial support from you to keep running in the longer term. In return I plan to provide you with a growing range of museum exhibits, displays and other experiences, as much as little scale models will allow. You might say that at it’s core this museum is a small idea with small exhibits, but we’re thinking bigger than that.
Let’s see how we go.