It started out as a simple day at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum.
Kris Taylor was visiting the museum with her two granddaughters, Emily and Jocelyn Vogel, and as the girls perused the free booklets the museum offers, they noticed that there weren’t any written for kids their age.
So the two of them set out to change that.
Now, after about a year of hard work, Emily and Jocelyn have finished writing their very own booklet titled “Atterbury Army Airfield and Bakalar Air Force Base: A book for kids and everyone.”
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“I think anybody would really enjoy it,” Taylor said. “It tells the story of the airfield and air base in a way young people can understand. They can understand a little bit of what went on out there during World War II, and what it was like out there for the men at the airfield.”
Emily and Jocelyn, who are in the sixth and fourth grade respectively, wrote the book and researched the information that they needed for it.
Taylor helped edit, type up and look over what they had written. David Day, who is on the museum’s board of directors, edited the project, added photographs, worked on layout and printed copies of the booklet.
“I wanted to create some educational materials for children, but in my life I haven’t had much experience working with children,” Day said. “Emily and Jocelyn had a clear understanding of what children wanted to know about what life was like on the base 60 to 80 years ago.”
Taylor said the booklet was finally completed about six weeks ago. Both girls were happy to see their finished handiwork.
“It feels really good because I get to know that I was kind of a little author, and I helped make a book for a museum that a lot of people go to,” Emily said.
The girls said they want to write more books on subjects such as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), the Tuskegee Airmen and World War II.
Emily and Jocelyn’s love of history seems to have been inherited from both Taylor and her husband, Skip, who is a docent and museum member leading the efforts to put together a C-119 “Flying Boxcar” aircraft purchased by the museum.
Jocelyn said it was the museum’s campaign to bring the C-119 to Columbus that first got her interested in aviation.
Like her grandfather, Emily has trained to be a docent and guides visitors through the museum. Jocelyn hopes to do so as well once the museum reopens.
Day said that learning about history is an important way for kids to learn about life.
“Life is about change,’” he said. “The world that I grew up in was vastly different than what kids see today. If kids learn more about how their parents and grandparents dealt with an ever-changing world, they may be better equipped to deal with their future challenges.”
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Emily and Jocelyn’s booklet will be available for free at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum when it reopens. The museum is scheduled to reopen the first Saturday once the state enters stage five of Governor Eric Holcomb’s reopening plan. Right now, stage 4.5 is set to continue through at least Sept. 25.
The museum also has free booklets on 12 other topics, which can be taken home and read.
"The booklet content is usually a condensed version of an open source document published by military or state historical organizations," Day said. "The booklets were first made available in 2019, and 700 were distributed in that year. There are 13 different booklets at this time and more are planned as time allows. There is a lot of interesting Columbus history that needs to written down before it is lost.”