Growing out of a small-town school event in California, Women’s History Month (March) is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. The United States has observed it annually throughout the month of March since 1987. www.history.com
At the museum, we started March off by celebrating the accomplishments of women by attending the annual Tribute to Women in the Military at Kirtland Air Force Base, designing and creating aprons to hang at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in 2013 Apron Project installation, and partnering with local and national organizations to screen the film, Service: When Women Come Marching Home at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.
By Allen Dale Olson, MAMF Secretary for Public Affairs
A few minutes with the Governor, a half-hour with the State Cabinet Secretary for Economic Development, another half-hour with the State Cabinet Secretary for Veterans Affairs, a full hour with the City Director of Cultural Affairs, and a series of meetings with the Albuquerque Director of the Special Library Collections and with the senior staff of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History are only a hint of our Board’s activities since the first of the year.
2013 is going to be a great year for the Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center, thanks to our board, our supporters and our friends around the world.
As a young organization, no longer in our infancy, we are clearer in our mission, vision and direction than we were when we started out with little more than a concept and a sense of purpose.
For those of you who have been with us since the beginning, you can see that our Board of Directors has grown and we now have a solid Advisory Board. We have community liaisons who provide us information and feedback from their respective “communities” and we have some faithful volunteers. We are a small non-profit organization with a Big Mission: Read the rest of this entry »
October was a little less hectic than the summer months were, even as the museum began planning for the upcoming programs in November at the National Nuclear Museum, Kirtland AFB chapel and at the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center in Albuquerque.
On October 12, Social Media Program Manager Rachael Cleveland and I took Operation Footlocker to the Albuquerque VA Medical Center for its Diversity Day program. We met a lot of nice folks—despite the gale-force winds that buffeted us.
We conducted a phone interview with a potential spouse liaison for our museum, and we agreed to meet her in person in early November. We also wished Rachael Cleveland well as she moved back to Washington DC to be closer to her father who is stationed there with the Navy. She continues to be our social media manager.
On the 19th, we had a meeting with the Nuclear museum staff to discuss the final set up and coordination of the November 11th program. We will be showing filmmaker Donna Musil’s documentary, “Brats: Our Journey Home”. Donna will be on hand to do a Q&A after the film for each of the two screenings. We will also have quilt squares for visitors to decorate to honor their military families. We will also sell museum stickers and magnets.
We also finalized our two programs that Donna will be teaching a workshop called “Military Brats, a Life in Transit” at the Kirtland AFB chapel on November 10 at 9:00-11:00 AM and at the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center that afternoon at 1:45-3:00.
On October 20th, our board met to revisit and revise our mission and vision statements. Polly McLaughlin, who is our director of special projects in marketing, facilitated the meeting. Wanda Umber, PhD, who has been working with us on our strategic plan co-facilitated.
We had a lot of fun working on them—we brainstormed and did a couple of creative exercises to help us imagine where we’d like to be in 2015.
My husband and I went out to Wichita Kansas at the end of the month to visit the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) where our son, Iain works, and to meet with Joe Condrill, founder of Overseas Brats
Enroute to Wichita, we stopped by Ft. Riley, KS to visit with our son, Erik, who is stationed at Ft. Riley.
The Museum continues to be grateful for the support and sponsorship it is getting. Organizations like the Rio Rancho Elks Club, K-tech-Raytheon, Marriot Residence Inn and Southwest Decoratives are making our November programs a reality, and we feel truly blessed.
Albuquerque, NM — The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will celebrate Veterans Day on Sunday, November 11, 2012, with two screenings of the documentary “Brats: Our Journey Home,” and docent-guided tours throughout the day.
Admission into the Museum on November 11 will be free to service members, past and present, who show military identification. Regular admission prices apply to all other visitors.
“Brats: Our Journey Home” will be shown at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. It is a seven-year work of passion by independent filmmaker Donna Musil, whose career has included journalism, law, and writing, as well as filmmaking. Ms. Musil is also the founder of Brats without Borders, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the lives, culture, issues, and needs of current and former military brats.
Visitors will experience history not only through the film and Museum exhibits but also through the personal stories of men and women who served our country as presented in a display by Operation Footlocker. Co-hosting the day’s events is the Museum of the American Military Family, an on-line museum. (To learn more, visit http://www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org/ )
“Brats: Our Journey Home,” is an award-winning 2006 documentary that explores the social and psychological impacts of growing up in a military family. The first cinematic glimpse into the lives of military children, “Brats” features provocative first-person interviews, rare archival footage, as well as home movies and photographs from post-war Japan, Germany, and Vietnam. Narrated by singer and songwriter Kris Kristofferson, the film welcomes viewers to listen to the intimate memories shared by U.S. military brats about their unique childhoods and adult journeys “home.”
The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is located at 601 Eubank SE in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the entrance to the Sandia Science & Technology Park. Formerly the National Atomic Museum, which opened in 1969 and was chartered by Congress in 1991, the Museum serves as a repository and steward of nuclear-related historical items and is a Smithsonian affiliate. The Museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 361 days a year. The Museum’s website is http://www.nuclearmuseum.org and the phone number is 505-245-2137.
We were so busy with the museum this summer, August and, now, most of September seems like a blur. We met several times with our partners at the Nuclear Museum and began the earnest work of designing our smaller programs and major full-scale exhibit. The big exhibit is titled “Military Families: Sacrifice in Support of Valor” and will open in 2014.
Our Veterans’ Day (November 11, 2012) program at the Nuclear Museum will be a collaboration with Brats Without Borders, the non-profit founded by filmmaker Donna Musil. In addition to showing Donna’s film, with live commentary by Donna, we will have a footlocker from our Operation Footlocker on display as well as a hands-on activity.
We will be sponsoring two “A Life in Transit: Growing Up Military” workshops in Albuquerque on November 10—one on Kirtland Air Force Base; the other at Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center. Donna will facilitate these workshops.
August found us planning collaborative programs with the Civil Air Patrol cadet program at the Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science. They will create us two thematic footlockers and will conduct audio-visual interviews with Veterans and their families.
Together with Brats without Borders, we have developed a “Brats Club” and will launch it at the Bataan Military Academy later this fall.
We met with several Veteran and Family Support groups and told them about our awesome mission. They have begun to share our information with their constituents. We also met with the Bataan Military Academy Board of Directors and other staff members to discuss the possibility of co-sharing space in the Albuquerque metro.
We agree that because we are a learning organization, we might find that being on a school campus is of mutual benefit.
We added several new interviews to our podcasts, “Together We Serve” and “Schooling with Uncle Sam” on Tindeck.
We also started a new blog called At Ease: Books By, and For, Brats and Their Families. We post books and synopses of books in our library collection written by military or DoD family members and readers can post reviews. http://ateasebooks.wordpress.com/
We continue to plan on either building or sharing space in the near future, and so the fundraising continues. We will be following up with City officials later this fall to move the process forward.
We are glad for all the support for our fledgling organization! Please keep your stories and photos coming in. We are looking for content from all branches and from all eras. We are preserving military family history one posting at a time!
Our blogs are as follows:
*Peanut butter, Passports and Pedagogy: Schooling with Uncle Sam
(going to school overseas –DoD schools, on base schools, University of Maryland, international schools)
*We Served Too
(assorted stories, articles about military families that don’t fit into subcategories in The Military Family blog) –this one has audio capability
(memories, stories and interviews about being a military family loosely sorted into the following categories: pride, identity, sacrifice, loss, deployment, host nation, home…)
*America Remembers ’Nam
(Stories from all perspectives about the Vietnam era)
( Excerpts or complete letters from a service member home–any era)
*New Mexicans Remember WWII and Korea
(Stories from all perspectives about WWII –focusing primarily on family and supporters)This has audio capability
We also are on the following:
Check us out—and if you want to contribute stories or photos or interviews, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Circe Olson Woessner
July was very productive for the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF). Members of the board met for a third time with Albuquerque city officials regarding building a permanent structure in the metro area, and two firms sent in proposals for the museum building, one of which is shown here.
Operation Footlocker made several appearances throughout Albuquerque– at the VA Cooperative Studies Center, JRs BBQ, American Legion Post 49 and at the Route 66 Festival. Operation Footlocker also made its way up to Denver, Colorado to the 24th annual DODDS Reunion.
Everywhere we went, we got an enthusiastic welcome…none more so than the group staffing the footlocker at the Route 66 Festival in the Nob Hill section of historic Route 66, a.k.a Central Avenue.
I was not there, but Allen, Rachael, Wanda, Jude and their significant others assure me that after spending hours next to the Techno booth next to them, they went home with permanent “dub step” pounding in their brains—and not to mention—temporary deafness and mild sunburn.
What we do to carry out our Museum’s mission: “celebrating over two centuries of our military families’ remarkable contributions…together they serve…”!
I was up in Denver and had very productive meetings with the board of the American Overseas Schools Historic Society (AOSHS) and with Donna Musil, Founder of Brats without Borders. We agreed to collaborate on some interesting initiatives in the coming months.
Our planning committee continued to fine-tune our strategic plan and to develop a robust marketing strategy.
We kicked off our logo contest, asking people from the community to submit ideas for our museum’s logo, and a few submissions have come in. We, in the interim, have selected a design to use for merchandise.
On July 28th at our quarterly meeting, we said farewell to two board members, Julianna Sutherland, Marketing Director, and Bill Armstrong, Secretary of Public Affairs—after two years of service. We appreciate all they did (and continue to do) for the museum. We elected Polly H. Mclaughlin, Marketing Director and welcomed Rachael Cleveland to her new position as Education and Social Media Programs Director. We voted to further restructure and expand the board, and are actively recruiting for several board positions. (See our website for details)
We continue to fund-raise, as we haven’t quite met our goal for this quarter. Our supporters have been generous in this poor economy, and we thank them for their trust and confidence in us.
What’s next for MAMF?
We are partnering with the Bataan Military Academy and the Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science in Albuquerque this school year. We will be working with the Sea Cadets and Civil Air Patrol programs.
We continue to work with the National Nuclear Museum and our other local and national partners in building our exhibit for the fall.
We continue to gather the stories and memories of the American Military Family—if you have items to donate or stories to share, please email us at email@example.com .
We continue to develop our podcast, “Schooling With Uncle Sam” and will add another, “Together We Serve”. We plan to add a book review to our blogs. We will begin redesigning and migrating our website to another platform.
Over the next few weeks, we will feature the stories of our board members here, so you learn of their military story and better appreciate why they want to represent the Museum of the American Military Family.
We thank you for your continued support…as we support and honor the American Military Family.
Circe Olson Woessner, Executive Director, MAMF
Circe Olson Woessner never raised her right hand and promised “to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
That doesn’t mean that she hasn’t served her country. As a wife, a mother and a daughter, she has served in a military role that you don’t hear much about on Veterans Day or Memorial Day — that of a family member.
As a girl, she followed her mother and father around the world as they worked in American Department of Defense schools that served military families. As a wife, she moved more than 20 times during her husband’s military career. And as a mother, she worries about a son who serves in the Army.
It was during her son’s deployment to Iraq when she got the idea for a museum that celebrates the American military family.
“All I could think was that there were Iraqi families that were worried about their sons,” Woessner said. “I thought, ‘military moms are tough, we have to be.’ “
It also led her online to see what resources were available. And while there are many organizations to help — some supported by the military and others, like the Blue Star Mothers, that are private — there was no one who was collecting the stories of family members.
Ever since the founding of our country, there have been military family members. And their role has only increased as American bases have been located overseas.
And so the Museum of the American Military Family was born. With the help of her father, Allen Olson of Tijeras, Woessner has been working toward getting a permanent home for the museum, as well as creating exhibits and gathering information.
The father and daughter hope to find a location in New Mexico in which to put the museum, and both are optimistic that will happen.
In the meantime, though, they are putting together an exhibit to be shown at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque. Woessner says that the exhibit could be up by the fall, but that $20,000 is needed to create and set up the exhibit.
“It sounds like a lot of money,” she said, “but if we can find a corporation to underwrite this it will be easy.”
Without a building and with the need to raise money for exhibits in other museums, the Museum of the American Military Family is mostly an online presence, but it also has a traveling display called Operation Footlocker.
Woessner explained that an old military footlocker stuffed with mementos and is sent to different locations as a community outreach. The footlocker is sent out to different organizations with the trust that it will be returned intact. In addition, Woessner said her museum is working on an educational outreach where a museum member will take a footlocker to a school or other organization and give a presentation.
“We want people to realize that when a service member signs up, there is a family that shares that commitment,” Woessner said. “Our main mission is to preserve the history on the military family.”
The museum is sponsoring a logo contest. Those interested can go to the museum’s website at http://www.museumoftheamerican militaryfamily.org or its Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Museum oftheAmerican Military Family to enter the contest, or find out how they can share their stories, photos and items.
Woessner can be reached at 505-504-6830 for more information on the museum.
Contact Rory McClannahan at 823-7102 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.