The Arizona License Plate Society Club Museum Project was an idea of then-Treasurer Joel Kimmet back in 2001. The plan was for the club members to create a complete run of Arizona license plates that could be displayed in a museum or other public location. The hope was that the Club Project would serve as a tool for generating interest in Arizona license plate history amongst the public, but also serve as an advertisement for the club among the public who might be interested in license plates.
Joel and fellow member Gene Cox worked hard promoting the project and securing donations. As plates were donated, Gene would update a chart and recognize members who helped this project move along. The donating member’s name was added to the run next to the plate to recognize the generosity of the gift. The project received a significant boost in 2004 when a member from Scottsdale named Ed Myers donated several difficult plates from the 1920’s and 1930’s. A Tucson member named Arlon Burns painstakingly restored some tough-to-get years. Arlon’s generous donation of his time and skills on these plates helped boost the legitimacy of this project and make this a fine representation of our club and our hobby. In recent years, Treasurer Bruce Biemeck has led the project and worked to get some of the last few plates needed, as well as assembling a temporary display board.
In 2005, the project was complete with the exception of the 1914, 1915, and 1946 sticker. Member Bill Ledbetter saw the almost complete display at the June Pinnacle Peak meet and pledged a 1915 to the project. The 1915 was restored lovingly by Arlon Burns and is now one of the centerpieces of this run. As of 2008 this project is complete, sans the 1914 and an original 1946 sticker (we currently have a reproduction on display). Display time has been limited, though, to displaying the project only at ALPS meets.
One of the dilemmas in placing the project at a museum was the inability to secure the plates in a way they would be protected in a public environment. Existing display case space at museums tends to be at a premium. That being the situation, it made sense to pursue getting a custom display case or shadowbox specifically to showcase this project. The only question was how to pay for it. In 2008, a limited edition souvenir plate was developed with the sole purpose of raising money for a secure display case. The souvenir plate contained a graphic collage of actual plates from the Club Project. The plates were consecutively numbered from 1914 to 2010, one for each year represented in the Club Project. Members then purchased a plate of a year that has significance to them with the proceeds going towards the display case for this valuable project.
The hope still lives this project will eventually be displayed in the new cabinet, complete with a 1914 and 1946 sticker. How soon we get there, however, depends on your help. If you would like to donate one of the missing plates, or would be interested in contributing toward a fund to help purchase the plate or the display case, please contact us! We appreciate your support of this valuable project and for helping to preserve the legacy of Arizona license plates.