First Ever Military Ration Symposium!

We’ll be attending the gun show in Doswell, Virginia this weekend along with a number of members from the site MREinfo.com. We’ve brought along a few displays and some items that will be auctioned off to help raise funds. We’ll be streaming video from the event here, on YouTube, and on the forums at MREinfo so stay tuned!

Busy Weekend!

The website is coming along great! This weekend I was able to make progress with our new collection management system, and am almost ready to add that to the live site. The collection category pages are looking much cleaner and the infinite scroll function is working well. Individual artifact pages are finally looking close to what I originally envisioned – just a little more work there and we’re golden!

The big task will still be getting all of the actual artifacts into the website. I’m going to be pushing over the next few days and weeks to get everything online as data. Getting photos, reviews, etc up for the artifacts will be an ongoing process as we have the time and resources to get everything properly cataloged.

Extending Our Reach – Ordering From Japan

logo_buyeeWe’re always looking for items for the collection, and new places to search. We have friends in Europe that help us order through the German eBay, and now thanks to Buyee, we can order through the Japanese Yahoo auction site.

logo_yahuoku_01Different rations are going to be available in Japan than what we can find in the states, and while many of the rarest items are beyond our current budget it’s good to keep the avenue open for the future when that changes. So far though I’ve been able to acquire a few “Miri Meshi” magazines, basically ration collecting enthusiast magazines. While we do have a fairly strong ration collecting presence in the US, we don’t have anything quite like what there is in Japan so I wanted to document some examples of that culture.

Upgrading The Website

With the site finally under development, there was a new job to take care of – that of finding a better method of managing our online collections. I reviewed the websites for a number of other small to medium sized museums. The fields varied, but when it comes down to it there is a fairly universal base structure to a museum. One or more collections, be they physical, digital or a mix, are assembled for preservation of the artifacts, and open sharing of the information involved. The websites reflect that fairly straightforward goal in that they usually want to share information about the museums themselves, as well as share their collections with visitors that can’t make it there in person.

FacetWPWell the search led me to a WordPress plugin I’ll be able to use to display, sort and search through the collection with ease – FacetWP. We reached out to them and were delighted to be offered a copy for use on our site. A faceted search for any sort of collection will improve the way users interact with it online, and I can’t wait to get started integrating it into this site.

Keep checking back as we get the collections online!

GuideStar and CharityNavigator Listings

As part of our dedication to organization transparency, we’ve published listings with the two primary charity verification services. GuideStar and CharityNavigator obtain our public records from the federal government, and allow us to submit additional details about our organization in order to make it easy for anyone anywhere to make sure that we’ve obtained approval to operate as a nonprofit corporation under IRS code section 501(c)(3).

With GuideStar, an organization of our very limited size is able to provide a complete record of all organizational details. We’ve provided our financial reports for 2015, our organizing documents, or board information, etc and have thus achieved the highest possible rating in their system – Gold.

Gold Rating From Guidestar

CharityNavigator is a somewhat more widely used verification service. We’re unable to obtain a rating with their service, because of the form we file annually for our corporate taxes. While they can obtain a number of variations of form 990 for exempt organizations from the IRS, they cannot obtain form 990-N, which we file for the museum. We are listed, and have provided everything we can to their system for transparency.

Please feel free to take a look at our listings below:

CharityNavigator Listing
GuideStar Listing