November 2012 NewsPosted: November 17, 2012
If the Board of Directors seems a bit out of breath these days, blame it on a breath-taking flurry of activities over the past couple of weeks. After a few meetings to review and re-word the Mission and Vision Statements and re-start the creation of a Strategic Plan (Thanks, Jayne, Wanda, Polly), we went to the Hotel Albuquerque (November 8) for the annual meeting of the New Mexico Museum Association where we met a number of like-minded museum people, including several who enthusiastically offered their support and assistance, including the Director of the Bradbury Museum in Los Alamos, the New Mexico Historian, and the Director of the Farmington Art Museum. We learned a lot about lending (and borrowing) exhibits, fund-raising, using social media, and how not to be discouraged.
On November 10 we moved into a series of programs over the Veterans Day weekend, which included hosting Chris Kyrios, Karlsruhe American High School alum and Donna Musil, the producer of the 90-minute film Brats: Their Journey Home, narrated by Kris Kristofferson.
With Donna on center stage, we hosted a Saturday morning program for military parents and their children in the Kirtland Air Force Base Chapel for a lively discussion on the unique challenges faced by kids growing up in the military.
That afternoon we moved the program to Albuquerque’s Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center with a focus on “The Toughest Job in the Military – Being a Kid.” At both programs we met people willing to support our museum, even attracting at least one cash donation!
We spent all of Veterans Day in the theater of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History with a morning and afternoon screening of Donna’s film followed by discussions, some of which were accompanied by tears, and some more promises of continued support for our museum. In addition to showing the films, many participants wrote messages on cotton squares for use in making a quilt with backing representing the branch of service to which the message was addressed. (Thanks Caroline, Allen, Melinda, Joan)
Monday was just as busy. It started with three half-hour programs in the Zuni Elementary School where, in partnership with the New Mexico Veterans Memorial, we showed a footlocker while several Veterans talked with students about their military service.
From there we rushed out to Bernalillo for the afternoon ceremony honoring veterans where we were seated with and marched through the Flag Ceremony with representatives of Senator Udall and Representative (soon-to-be-Senator) Heinrich, both of whom requested us to come to their offices to tell them all about our Museum. The Mayor of Bernallilo assured us of “any help he could be” if needed. While at the ceremony, we arranged for several interviews with Veterans and family members and recruited Larry Hurdado, a.k.a. “Wolfman,” to be our Veterans Liaison. Larry has already put us in contact with many useful resources.
Along the way, we paid a visit on Desi Baca, who, among other things, is struggling to find funding for a Veterans memorial and who told us interesting stories, including one in which he managed to have President Eisenhower meet a Boy Scout Troop while they were visiting in Washington. He gave us a photo of the event.
Speaking of Scouts: The retired Director of the Transatlantic Girl Scout Council is preparing for us a history of the Girl Scouts on U.S. military installations in Europe.
We interviewed about a half-dozen military families, and we have met many wonderful people, including authors Phyllis Zimbler Miller, Mary Elliott Raynor and Molly Blake. Everywhere we go, we have been supported encouraged. For that we are thankful.
From everyone here at the museum, we wish you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Allen D. Olson, Secretary/Public Affairs, MAMF