Bill Paul is the Collections Manager here at the Museum of Aviation. Aside from being a staff member at the Museum from its inception, Bill is one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to military aircraft and related equipment. Enjoy this latest installment of Meet the Staff!
Job Title: Collections Manager
Where are you originally from/What do you consider your hometown: I was born and raised in Warner Robins. My dad came down in 1953 from the Athens area to take a job as an aircraft mechanic on base and decided to settle down here.
Tell us a little about your educational background: I graduated from Warner Robins High School in 1976. I’ve taken additional courses through Macon State College and museum specific courses through the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation at Mt. Carroll, Ill. I’ve also taken museum related training through the U.S. Air Force and the Georgia Archives
What sorts of hobbies do you enjoy or what do you do in your free time: When I’m not taking care of things around the house, I enjoy building models and motorcycling.
How long have you worked at the museum: I started as a volunteer in February of 1981 and became an employee in January of 1983.
What does your job entail: My primary job is to care for the Museum’s artifact collection. When an item comes in I identify, record and catalog it in preparation it for exhibit or long-term storage. I work with the exhibits team in preparing exhibits by giving by suggesting specific artifacts to use, advising them on “museum safe” materials to use and helping to design and build mounts for the artifacts. I also help with research for exhibits. Over the years, I’ve probably been involved to a small degree in just about every function out here.
If you were not working here at the museum, what kind of job would you like to have: I’ve been at this so long it’s hard for me to imagine doing anything else.
How does being a museum employee change your experience when you visit other museums: I find myself paying more attention to the mechanics of an exhibit than I use to—how the mounts are made, what materials are being used to line the case, what font is used in the text panels, what lighting is installed and so forth. I also have a greater appreciation of what the staff went through to create the exhibit.
What is your favorite aircraft or exhibit at the museum and why: I really don’t have a favorite. Each aircraft and exhibit is unique; telling its own story, yet each one is important and contributes to our telling the overall story of the history and mission of Robins AFB and the US Air Force.