Will You Be Part of History?

President's Letter


Welcome to Autumn, dear readers, and the latest edition of The Last Detail. As the weather cools down, the yard work dwindles for the year, and holidays roll into view, it seems quite natural to reflect on the year gone by, and to ruminate on the year ahead.

As your APMM Board of Directors digs deeper into conference planning for this milestone THIRD DECADE conference year, the nature of time and our history, as well as the future of model making, have been at the forefront of our thoughts.

I was speaking to someone the other day, who remarked that our profession, uniquely, deals in imagining and realizing the future, so capturing moments in model making time also tells the story of the pursuit of dreams, innovations, and advancements. Did you happen to watch our Zoom meetup with author, professor and historian Matthew Mindrup, who spoke with us about his book, The Architectural Model: Histories of the Miniature and the Prototype, the Exemplar and the Muse? In it, he describes how miniature copies of column capitals were found in Egyptian archaeological sites, which are believed to have served as on-site master patterns for artisans carving the detail into full-scale columns.

In another meetup, we saw Hollywood effects maestro Fon Davis, through extensive photographs kept over years, sharing his work on the Star Wars franchise and other genre-defining science fiction films. Across the pond in Glasgow, Scotland, we were treated to a stunning showcase of historical maritime models, hosted by exhibit curator and author Emily Malcolm. This meetup featured fantastic historical footage of maritime model shops at shipyards up and down the River Clyde, with beautiful photography and information on the model makers themselves. These are three examples that show how model makers at various times in history have left their fingerprint on architecture, transportation, our myths and storytelling, technology, and the culture of humanity.

As model makers, we’re all part of that tradition, in our own way. Every day, we’re making the future REAL. Someone’s vision, through our skill and craft, becomes tangible. I’m proud of the part we play in history, in the present, and in building the future. I hope you are too. With that said, I’d like to ask you a favor. Can you dig up even a single photograph of a project you’ve worked on at some point in your career, your workbench, or some other interesting aspect of your corner of the profession, and send it to [email protected]Include a few lines explaining your submission, a credit for the photo if possible, and permission to show the image on our website. 

Michael's workbench at Garmin Int'l.

We’re trying to pull together some fresh images for the website and possible conference use, and this small effort on your part could help us out a lot. It would also help us create a library of model making work, to archive the talents and history of our membership, to tell a visual story of what and who we are, to those who visit our website. In a time when people are more interested than ever in how stuff is made and how things are done, such images will keep our website interesting and relevant, and possibly enable future site visitors to quickly relate to what we’re all about as an organization and profession.

Working in a corporate shop, I understand the need for discretion on current projects, so don’t send anything under NDA, of course. But I know from personal experience that many businesses, even large ones, won’t mind you sharing images of projects and products you worked on that are long-since released to the public. Just make sure to run it by your manager for permission beforehand.

Like the Egyptian column pattern or photos of Glasgow maritime model shops, the work of current model makers should not be lost to history. I believe the APMM has a responsibility to recognize and collect examples of our work, for the appreciation of our colleagues and the public here and now, as well as historians and other interested parties in the future. Each of you has at least one image kicking around that would be a perfect addition to that archive. I hope you’ll take a moment to share it with me, with your colleagues, and just maybe - with history.


Michael Scribner
APMM President