In spring of 2005, I was engaged by the people of Pelee Island to help them with a variety of government and environmental issues which were confronting the island. Part of that renewal was an exploration of how could we increase environmentally friendly tourism by attracting free publicity in the spring to get people thinking about making a trip to the island part of their family plans?
As a life long kite collector who foolishly but very happily owned a kite shop in the 1970's, and organized kite gatherings in south Kent, it was a logical extension to think about introducing kites to an island with such great wind and flat land surface.
The museum officially opened on June 28th, 2008 as part of the island’s Heritage Centre building, until the fall of 2012. We are currently in the process of relocating to the London area, scheduled for official opening in 2014 to a much larger site.
I claim no special gift as a kite flyer, kite maker, kite historian or expert anything - Kites are fun and they make people happy. For me, that is enough.
The Kite Museum is a family owned museum - for families. I say family which really means it is my passion, my 11 year old daughter really likes the idea and is always looking out for kite images; and my wife, well, lets just say that after 26 years of marriage, she has learned to resign herself to certain things in life. But every once in a while when she thinks we are not looking, we do catch her smiling as Ashley and I go about our silliness.
The mission of the museum is:
* First and foremost - to share joy.
* To use kites to bridge cultural understanding, environmental awareness and family togetherness
* To be a resource for kite and wind related interests
* To help preserve North American paper kites
* To develop and introduce opportunities and means for people with challenges to participate in kiting
First of all, please understand, our vision is not the traditional image and definition of an "institutional museum".
We have no interest in staff, fundraising, charitable paperwork, worrying about how to attract new visitors after the novelty has worn off after the first few years, etc.
I have visited, conversed with and researched some of the finest museums in the world in Paris, New York, Washington, Vienna, Prague, California, Italy, as well as many local community ones. That combined experience is what guides our vision. Factoid: Less than 4% of North Americans have ever been to a museum.
Like a museum, we will have the traditional housing for displays and preservation, but we shall put most of our focus on traveling exhibits, inter-active programming and going to where the people are, rather than trying to get people to come to bricks and mortar.
We are committed to developing a working model for a "sustainable" kiting experience/institution which shall survive my passing and continue into the future. After all, these are not “my” kites, we are only the current care takers, and we shall do our best to collect, preserve and promote them for others.
Our vision is to create the opportunity to create "wow". "Wow" in terms of "I had one of those"; "that is so cool"; "I didn't know that"; "I did it"; "you won't believe what we saw"; and most importantly - “I want to try to do or make that!”.
What started as a means to create some environmentally friendly activities for families and to generate free publicity for a small island community has taken on a life of its own - in a good way. Five years from now, we hope that we have made a contribution to preserving this important historical human activity, as well to increase the awareness and participation into the future.
Enjoy - with the emphasis on "joy".
George, Sara, & Ashley Paisiovich