I appreciate both your tolerance and your wisdom.
In retrospect, parts of my post were more strongly worded than I intended but the theme of the whole thing does reflect my views. From the outside, much of SMSC and its activities do appear to be a bit parochial and that can be off-putting to some of us.
Several of your comments were positive eye openers. I don't like to have a day go by without learning new facts, opinions and perspectives. You have provided that today. Thank you also for the kind invitation.
Thanks Bob for posting. I understand and respect your position here. Folks who know me, may wonder why, since I have been a prime promoter of the SMSC and an organizer of a number of the national meetings that we have had over the past almost twenty years. But having been a collector since I was 12, (I'm almost 76) I have learned that I'm never too old to learn something new, even if I don't agree with them. So discussions like this are valuable.
No man is an island unto himself. My entire collecting life has been built upon what I learned from others, and my connections with them. From the time I was a teenager until the present, I have learned from others, whether they were older collectors and builders who mentored me in my early years, or folks who assisted me and taught me new things in later years. Sure, there are books, and the internet, but those were, after all, created by people who in turn learned from other people. Without the help and influence of people like Joan Scott, the late Dick Pattee, Rudi and Egbert Kraus, Johann Ottmann, Norbert and Matti Brocher , Hjalmar Heinen and others, Saratoga Model Shipyard would not exist. Without the assistance of others, 1250scale.com, and my book MINIATURE SHIP MODELS, could not have been created.
For me, and I know for others, the hobby and the SMSC has provided not merely social ties, which in many cases has brought lasting friendships both here and abroad for me and my wife, it has also brought me wonderful models that I might not or could not have gotten otherwise, and increased my knowledge not only of the hobby but also of other unrelated history and culture. From this we have memories we treasure of many great trips and experiences. Involvement in organizations like the SMSC, is in the end, as much or as little as one chooses to make of it. One can get a lot if one seeks it.
I hope that some day we'll be able to resume our national meetings and renew old friendships. In the meantime, if you're ever in my neck of the woods, please feel free to contact me. I'd be happy to show you my collection and talk about our mutual love of the hobby.
I am a collector of 1250 scale ships and I have been for over 40 yrs. I have built a sizable collection, larger than most but nowhere near those of some people I know. I also contribute to this forum from time to time, (been on here since almost the beginning) often answering your brother's quizzes. I love the hobby and will match my knowledge of the models, their history and the history of the vessels they represent against all but the top 3-4 collectors I see on here.
Am I a member of SMSC? Nope. Never even considered it. I'm not involved in this hobby for social reasons. No interest in the periodic get togethers, simply the ship models and a few of the friendships I've made. I'm not a joiner by temperament,
Does SMSC have a monopoly on the knowledge and direction of this hobby? That's laughable. I never bothered joining and don't believe I've missed a thing. It's simply a social organization consisting of people who seem to like to get together from time to time in my opinion. I have tremendous respect for Paul Jacobs and I am grateful for both this forum and many of the tips and knowledge he has given me. There are a handful of other collectors I see on here that I also have great respect for. There are also others, on Facebook, where I post from time to time, who have significant knowledge that I look up to as well. Are they members of SMSC? Doubt it. Does SMSC have a monopoly on the top collectors, I think not. It has many but I know of at least a half dozen non members who are significant players.
I think SMSC is a fine organization for those who enjoy that sort of thing. I see no benefit to joining. With the internet I can see almost any model I'd like, through Sammelhafen and even sources like your brother's website. There are a handful of collections I'd love to see in person - Hamburg, Paul Jacobs', John Olsen's, but business and family commitments constrain my ability to travel long distances.
Enjoy SMSC, I'm sure it's fun for those who enjoy that sort of thing..Even if I were a member I would know better than to think it was the be all end all. A group of people who enjoy the hobby and each other's company. Worthy of respect for what it is, but for the rest of us, meh.
That's too bad for them and the members . . .