Operation Footlocker has partnered with the Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center.
Military Brats have grown up with footlockers, but Operation Footlocker doesn’t travel with one person from destination to another—it travels to brat reunions, military bases, libraries and schools as a mobile memory project. Operation Footlocker is a grassroots effort to celebrate the shared cultural identity of Military Brats and grew out a discussion in the spring of 1996 on the Military Veterans of America site within America Online. Operation Footlocker symbolizes the mobility of Brat childhood.
Mary Edwards Wertsch, author of the book Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress, and one of the participants in the discussion, first conceived the idea of taking a real footlocker and sending it around the country as a way of gathering memorabilia and bringing brats together. Reta Jones Nicholson provided the first footlocker and was the catalyst who brought Operation Footlocker from discussion to realty.
This mini mobile museum is a treasure chest of memories donated by Military Families, Brats, and Teachers from Overseas Schools. It travels around the USA–to Brat functions, to schools, to libraries–anywhere people gather who want to learn more about the military family experience. People come, pour over the contents of the footlocker set out for display and frequently contribute their own items, registering them in the footlocker’s logbook. Some people choose to sit down on the spot and write out a favorite story or memory, adding it to the notebooks which travel with the footlocker. (Later the stories will be typed up and preserved for future generations.)
In 2011, Operation Footlocker found a permanent home within the Museum of the American Military Family. This partnership will expand the project and bring it more visibility in the civilian community, furthering the museum’s mission of telling the story of the American Military Family.
Over 35 different folders of stories, photos and memorabilia from brats who attended schools on military installations in the US and Overseas, tee shirts, letter jackets, cheerleader sweaters from various DoD schools, buttons, coasters, yearbooks, coins, and much, much more!
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP OPERATION FOOTLOCKER:
- You can send us photos, letters, or items that you feel best represent the American Military Family. You can inform your local school staff or historical society both of our need for material and our availability as a resource for information about military families.
- You can request to have the footlocker shipped to your brat event, school, library or other program to share brat history with the general public.
- And of course, you can donate to our Museum to help us move this project into a permanent facility as a continuing tribute to our military families. We are an incorporated not-for-profit organization, newly established in our offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or to reserve one of our traveling “treasures”.
Our Website is: http://www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org
Here’s a link to a TV station in Florida–and a nice piece about Operation Footlocker!