Sunday, July 27, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #169 – Alert: Don't Waste Your Time! Antique Wireless Museum, Bloomfield, New York, July 6, 2014

I don't usually use pictures of places like this as Photos-of-the-Week, but for the Antique Wireless Museum, I'm making an exception. This place REALLY ticked me off. I discovered the place on my way through New York State to a new location. I checked it out and found out it was not open the day I was passing through the area. That annoyed me, but didn't really make me angry. There was a similar museum in Connecticut near Bradley International Airport that wasn't open very many hours, either. Basically, the place pictured above was only open for a couple hours on Tuesdays and for three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays. Now, THAT is NOT convenient for the public. It should have been my first hint.

I passed by and figured that's two out of two museums on this trip that I had a really personal and somewhat passionate interest in that I couldn't enjoy. Okay! Deal with it. But, I was several miles away and had planned to go in a different direction be about 100 miles away by Sunday, July 6th. However, I was really drawn to see this museum. So, I went on the Web site and it pretty much convinced me I would stay an extra day where I was and then back track to the museum on Sunday to enjoy their displays and hopefully see some things I hadn't seen before and learn something new. After all, isn't that what specialty museums are all about?

So, Sunday July 6th arrived. I took my time in the morning and then headed back to the little village of Bloomfield, NY (a place I had never been before this trip). I arrived around noon in Bloomfield and found a shady spot in the little village, parked and entertained myself until about 1:40 PM when I drove the approximately five minute drive to the museum arriving at 1:45 PM. I was the only car in the parking lot. About seven minutes before the museum was scheduled to open another car pulled up. It was someone from the group that operated the museum. He was there to pick up some paperwork to take home and process. We chatted and he filled me in about the museum and 2:00 PM arrived and passed. Time continued, 2:05, 2:10, 2:15 and no one showed up to open the museum. The guy I was talking to didn't have a key so he couldn't even get in to get what he needed.

Finally, at 2:15 PM the guy I was talking to called the director of the museum at his home and asked who was coming and when the museum would be opened. He was informed the museum was closed for the 4th of July holiday weekend (this was two days past the holiday) and no one was coming and it would not be opened. By this time a couple other cars had stopped and we then notified them the place was closed. Now, here is why this place should be avoided – first, it's run, obviously, by rank amateurs, actually, most of them were probably local amateur radio operators. Second, they had a very nice Web site with the hours, inconvenient as they were (only open about 8 hours for an entire week) prominently posted. But, was there a notice that the place would be closed this weekend for a holiday that shouldn't have had anything to do with operating the museum during their stated hours two days after the holiday? Absolutely NOT! Was there a sign on the door indicating the place would be closed this weekend. Absolutely NOT! In fact, It cost me time and a bunch of extra gas to return to this place for absolutely no reason. Yes! I was very pissed off, to be frank about it.

So, later that day I wrote a very terse email to the director, an amateur radio operator, whose email was listed on the Web site. It bounced back. In other words, this guy either didn't care enough to have a working email address on the site OR he saw it and bounced it himself preferring not to deal with the public. The museum is a qualified 501c3 non-profit organization. Obviously, they did the least possible to comply with the requirements of being a 501c3. In fact, they found some wealthy benefactor to put a pile of money into the organization for a big fact tax deduction, I'm sure. They own four buildings. From what I could see through the front door, there actually is a very nice display inside, however, it's only a small part of the collection of gear they have that's been donated to them for tax deductions. They had even just received a truck load of equipment from a no long operating Voice of America facility in California, at taxpayers' expense, I'm sure.

So, what this place is, as far as I can tell, is an expensive hobby for a bunch of local amateur radio operators (and I've been and still am an amateur radio operator for 55 years) that is using non-profit tax status to have lots of toys to play with and probably even sell off at a profit under their disguise as a tax deductible non-profit. While I really have extremely negative feelings about the IRS and I'm also not a huge fan of non-profits because they are used quite often to profit those who operate them, I have a mind to report them to the IRS and suggest they investigate the museum . I'll think about that. So, far, of course, I've not been able to make contact with them. I'll try again and suggest they read this blog post. So, to all my ham radio and wireless enthusiasts who read this blog



  1. Thanks Ed, sorry you had such a wasted side trip. Hey! Now there's an idea! I'm gonna apply for 501 status to help cover the expense of operating the "Mobile Societal Research Laboratory SS Phoenix". Happy and safe travels. ~~Dan~~

    1. Thanks, Dan. Regarding you're applying for a 501c_ status for the Mobile Societal Research Laboratory, Good Luck! You best hope there are no more Lois Lerner (and her henchmen) types at the IRS awaiting your application. I attempted to form a legit 501c3 during the period in question at the IRS - mine was for a group of veteran, semi-retired and retired profession speakers. I never got it through. I didn't have the money it was going to end up costing by the time it might have finally made it through. Also, since the word "Veteran" was included in the name of the foundation, I wonder if it didn't come under some undue scrutiny.

      Basically, I'm not really a big proponent of "non-profit" organizations. I think most of them are actually tax dodges. If they actually did what they were supposed to do and operated 100% toward their mission, then they wouldn't need non-profit status, they would expend the profits by the end of each year and no tax would be due. Of course, you might have to work a bit harder to get people, especially people with huge incomes and accumulated wealth to freely give of their good fortune to help others in some manner.

      One example, there is a non-profit hospital organization in the town I lived in for 26 years. They annually generated $20 million to $25 million in profits from the operation of the non-profit organization. Plus, members of the community donated an unknown number of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to the organization. They were one of, in not, the largest employers in the town. They were served by the town's infrastructure - police, fire, water, sewer, etc. yet paid no real estate taxes, personal property taxes, business license taxes, sales taxes, state or federal corporate taxes - like all the other businesses in the community were subject to. That's only one example, but hardly seems fair. Like I said, tax dodge.