I realize I'm a 'newbie' here and I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds by posting a new thread, but I've spent a great deal of time the last few weeks scanning the Internet visiting John Wayne sites, and by far this seems to be THE place to be for dedicated John Wayne enthusiasts.
There are a lot of threads here decrying the lack of a museum devoted to John Wayne, a lot of people wondering why one does not exist and discussing how to get one going. Some like Chillbill are doing their very best and seem to be spending a lot of effort but not making much progress. Getting a genuine museum built is a very difficult and expensive process, and requires the efforts of a lot of dedicated people.
A John Wayne museum is indeed in the works (and has been for several years) here in Winterset, Iowa, adjacent to the Duke's birthplace home. I'm on the Birthplace board and we have plans for an 8,500 square foot state-of-the-art, world-class museum devoted to honoring the great legacy of John Wayne. The Wayne family HAS committed to giving us a larger than life size statue of Wayne and to donate and/or loan many of Wayne's items for the museum. The museum will include a 50-seat theatre, interactive video displays and a learning center. This will not just be dusty rooms with a few artifacts in display cases, but an exciting, stimulating environment for people to learn about John Wayne through his life and his films, and to ensure that future generations come to know and understand the qualities for which he stood. You'll find information about the plans for the museum at http://www.johnwaynebirthplace.org/museum.html.
We've been in the fundraising process now for a year. The City of Winterset, Madison County and the local banks have all made siginifcant committments, and we are actively seeking the support of corporate donors. You would think businesses would jump at the chance to support a John Wayne museum but such is not the case. Our fundraisers tell us there is always reluctance until some firm comes on board with a major ($100,000+) commitment. After that it is much easier to get funding from more organizations ("Oh, well--if Wells Fargo is supporting the museum I guess we can too"). Our hope was to have Ethan Wayne turn the first shovel for the groundbreaking this May 26th on Wayne's 100th birthday, but we were told at the board meeting last night not to expect that. It appears there won't be sufficient funding in place by that date to be certain we can go ahead with our plans. Instead we were told we should just be promoting Ethan unveiling the statue.
Frankly, I am frustrated as hell. What could be a more perfect time to have the groundbreaking than on Wayne's 100th birthday? Ethan will be here regardless, and we're having a real shoot-em-up celebration for the birthday as well (see http://www.johnwaynebirthplace.org/centennial) but the publicity and editorial stories this groundbreaking would generate worldwide would be an enormous boost for the museum. I HATE to see this fantastic opportunity wasted!
So why am I posting this? I'm hoping to be able to generate some grassroots support from those of us who love John Wayne. If you have any contacts at firms who would be likely to contribute, talk to them and/or let me know. You may be a customer of a company that would be interested--write a letter to the president. Tell your friends and family, contact your local newspaper or TV or radio stations. Anything you can think of to help spread the word and generate publicity and interest will make it much easier for companies to justify donating to help make the John Wayne museum happen. Right now we're just this little town in the Midwest, so it's often difficult to even get our foot in the door. But the more widely this is known, the more people know about the museum, the more likely companies will be to listen and/or contribute. There's John Wayne fans worldwide here, and each one of us can multiply the impact we have many times over if we work together.
Don't just complain that there's no museum devoted to John Wayne, DO something to make it happen! Can we utilize the power and reach of the legions of the Duke's fans here on the Internet to make a difference? It sure would be fun to try and see what we can accomplish!
Feel free to contact me at [email protected]. Thank you for reading this, and hopefully joining in. Think how great you'll feel knowing YOUR efforts helped make it possible!
The Birthplace of John Wayne
My purpose here is three-fold. (1) I wanted to bring back Wayne Davis' post from Febuary 2007 about the vision for the planned John Wayne Birthplace Museum and Learning Center, (2) bring to the attention of our newer members what members of this message board have done, together, to help that goal along, by pooling our resources to purchase one of the $1500 bricks on the Walk of Fame, and (3) make those same newer members aware of ways they, too, can be involved in furthering the goal of building the museum and learning center in Winterset, Iowa, to honor John Wayne! I encourage folks to read this thread from the beginning to appreciate the length and breadth of what we did.
I'm proud to be part of this wonderful group of John Wayne fans!
The post was edited 3 times, last by chester7777 ().