Lifting the lid of an old military footlocker, one might expect to find folded clothing, a shaving kit and some Kiwi for polishing boots. Instead, a footlocker packed with military families’ memories will be on display from 1100-1700 hrs. on April 13 at the Kirtland AFB Library, Bldg. 20204.
Operation Footlocker is a community outreach program sponsored by the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF), a recently formed nonprofit organization based in Albuquerque.
“Using these footlockers loaded with mementos, we want to inspire young people to learn about and uphold the ideals of national service and to inform the general public of the cost and sacrifices our military families experience as part of our national security,” said Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, the museum’s Executive Director.
Members of the MAMF Board of Directors will be on hand to answer questions about the footlocker’s contents, as well as about the museum in general during the exhibition. The new museum is currently a virtual organization, allowing visitors from around the globe 24/7 access to its documents, photos and other galleries on its site: www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/MuseumoftheAmericanMilitaryFamily.
Allowing visitors a first-hand look at Operation Footlocker helps them better connect with the museum’s purpose, Woessner said.
“We want to help children and adults understand and enjoy the experience of sharing their own military family memories from decades past as well as from the present,” she said. “We do this by displaying souvenirs, photographs, historical documents and other mementos gathered by “military brats” who are willing to tell their story to everyone.”
Visitors are encouraged to contribute their own memories when visiting the exhibit. Donated items will end up traveling all over the world as other institutions request Operation Footlocker exhibits.
The Kirtland AFB Library is at the corner of Gibson and 2nd St. SE. For more information, please call (505) 846-1071.
This month, the Museum of the American Military Family will celebrate its one- year anniversary. It has been an amazing 12 months—So many people support us and go out of their way to help us to succeed. We have made some wonderful friends and alliances—both locally, and quite literally—half way around the world. We continue to strengthen our partnerships with Albuquerque schools, with the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, as well as with the American Overseas Schools Historic Society (AOSHS) in Wichita, Kansas. We have been embraced by local chapters of the Elks, The Veterans of Foreign Wars and organizations on Kirtland Air Force Base.
The museum community in Albuquerque has been very welcoming—we are partnering with the National Museum of Nuclear History and Science to create a long-term exhibit in their exhibit halls this fall; the NM Museum of Art and the NM Museum of Natural History staff have offered us support and the New Mexico Museum of History and the Western Heritage Museum have expressed an interest in having “Operation Footlocker” come to their sites this fall.
Operation Footlocker will also be present at the Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) Chapel on March 28 and at the KAFB Library on April 13 2012. We will also have a booth at the New Mexico Elks Convention at the end of March. A Footlocker will also be in Denver at the DODDS Reunion this July.
Our small board continues to do big things—while working well together and having fun. Our next board meeting is April 14 and we will revisit our mission and see how we can become even more involved in the local community.As the museum’s self-taught web master, I have learned more about website development than I thought I possible. There have been quite a few learning opportunities for me, but I am now fairly comfortable uploading, inserting and embedding. I hope that our museum supporters enjoy the results! Please email us if you have suggestions for improvement—and don’t forget to sign the guest book!
We are also on Facebook and Twitter!
We continue to ask people to submit written memories—either electronic or long-hand, as well as letters, photographs and mementos for the footlockers.
The footlockers have been traveling from “brat” reunions and events since 1995. The process will not change in the foreseeable future. How it works:
- Someone requests a footlocker
- We ship it to them (It costs about $100.00 one way)
- The requestor is entrusted with it and its contents for a specific period of time.
- While at the event—be it a reunion or other event, it is expected that the group hosting the event add several items and stories to the footlocker inventory.
- After the event, the requester will pay to have the footlocker returned to the museum or sent on to its next destination.
It really is a trusting relationship—and we trust our treasure trunks to our fellow Brats and Military families. In the 17 years Operation Footlocker has been traveling, there has never been any cause for concern.
If you would like to request a footlocker, please e-mail us at
The Museum of the American Military Family is now soliciting donations to create the exhibit at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, a Smithsonian Affiliate. Our goal is to raise $20,000 by July 2012. If you are interested in donating, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are a 501 c 3 organization and your contribution is tax deductible.
This is a wonderful, humbling and rewarding journey we have embarked on. We have an awesome mission:
The mission of the Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center is to encourage military families of all branches and ages to understand and to appreciate their impact throughout history and to inform the general public of the value of military families to our national defense.
The Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center strives, through oral histories, interactive displays, the fine arts, and rotating exhibits to create a unique environment in which military and civilian families of all ages, abilities and experiences can feel free to imagine, relive, and understand the impact it has had on countless generations throughout history.
The Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center provides a professional work and study environment that is challenging, rewarding, creative and respectful of ideas and individuals.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, we thank you for the support and encouragement you have given us. We are honored to have earned your trust.
Circe Olson Woessner, Executive Director