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Does Your Association Need a Museum?

Associations are here to educate the public, and one way some do that is through museums. Here are six run by associations:

AirVenture Museum


Association: Experimental Aircraft Association–community of aviation enthusiasts that promote and support recreational flying. 
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Opened: 1962
What’s in it: Over 200 historic aircraft, four movie theaters, hands-on KidVenture Gallery, and Eagle Hangar, a tribute to WWII aviation and those who served. 
Worth seeing: Visitors can take a ride in a vintage airplane at Pioneer Airport, a working aerodrome.

Halle Heart Children’s Museum


Association: American Heart Association
Location: Tempe, AZ
Opened: 2011
What’s in it: Interactive exhibits to help kids learn how their heart works and how to take care of it. 
Worth seeing: A Kitchen Café shows kids what and how much to eat; The Marketplace shows them how to read nutrition labels

National Firearms Museum


Association: National Rifle Association
Location: Fairfax, VA (first floor of NRA headquarters)
What’s in it: Six centuries of gun history, including 3,000 firearms from the Industrial Revolution and exhibits on how guns have been used in early settlement, military, police, hunting, competition and personal defense. 
Worth seeing: An exhibit on 120 guns used in movies and TV over the past 80 years, including the first revolver John Wayne used on camera and the silenced shotgun from No Country for Old Men.

The Archives and Museum of Optometry


Association: American Optometric Association
Location: St. Louis
Opened: 2009
What’s in it: The archival collection holds the association’s institutional records, governance documents, and other official documents, including oral histories and film collections. The museum collection features the history of eyewear, the optical industry and the association. 
Worth seeing: One of the first pairs of sunglasses, made in 1760 by Benjamin Martin. 

Money Museum


Association: American Numismatic Association–nonprofit, educational organization that educates and encourages people to study and collect money. 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
What’s in it: History of money exhibit; a large collection of gold coins, including the first gold coin minted in the US; artifacts and treasures found in underwater wrecks from the 16th century to modern day; and medallic art from around the world. 
Worth seeing: A screw press in action once a month (above) to show the minting process. 

William P. Didusch Center for Urological History


Association: American Urological Association
Location: Linthicum, MD
Opened: 1971
What’s in it: Drawings, photographs and instruments about the history of urology. The center also houses a library on urological and early medical texts and the AUA archives. 
Worth seeing: A large collection of some of the first scopes used in urology, including 600 cystoscopes, considered the most significant of all advances in urology.