2016 –A Year of Change!

Looking back at the past year, I am so amazed at what our small, but mighty, board has accomplished. As the Director of the Museum, I was honored to be asked to write a monthly military family-oriented column for the Kirtland Air Force Base Nucleus.

We began 2016 in our rented space on the second floor of the Bataan Military Academy, and some of the girls from 66 Pinups and Heels did a photoshoot in MAMF and that resulted in some pretty spectacular photos with the girls and a mention in a magazine not usually associated with museums.

In February, some of our board met up with Joe Condrill, founder of the Overseas Brats organization, as he hosted a regional get-together in Cervantes restaurant in Albuquerque. We made some new local Brat acquaintances and caught up with old friends.

As a Vietnam Commemorative Partner, along with the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, we hosted a program, Heroes & Hueys. We honored our Vietnam Veterans and showed the film, In the Shadow of the Blade. Speakers included Lt. Governor John Sanchez, Secretary Jack Fox, General Andrew Salas, VA Medical Center Andrew Welch and MAMF Operations Director Joseph Baca.  The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department flew in its Huey helicopter and landed it on the parade grounds at VA. MAMF board members passed out commemorative pins and sprigs of rosemary “for remembrance”.

In May, we supported our board member Jan as she rode all the way across the country-from California to Washington DC, as part of Run For the Wall and join Rolling Thunder on Memorial Day. She took one of our Flat Stellas with her and posed with lots of wonderful people all across America. In conjunction with RFTW, we showed the film, Stray Dog, at the South Broadway Cultural Center. Over the summer, I became the Midway Route Coordinator for the New Mexico leg of RFTW. It is a huge responsibility, and I could not do it alone, so I have a great team in Jan, Bill, Dean and Firecracker helping—as well as all the folks involved in RFTW across the country.

Board members Joe Baca and Lisa Pino represented MAMF at the Memorial Day ceremony at the Sandoval County Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, and my husband and I went up to Angel Fire to attend the ceremony up there.

In June, we moved our museum to a new location in Tijeras, NM. Tijeras is about 7 miles east of Albuquerque and is where Route 66 and scenic byway NM 14 intersect. Our museum is right next to New Mexico landmark Molly’s Bar. In fact, our museum is in the former home of Molly, the bar’s founder. During her life, Molly was a vibrant figure in the community and as a Justice of the Peace, conducted weddings in her home—our current building.

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We continued Molly’s tradition of hosting meaningful, happy ceremonies in her home by hosting a naturalization ceremony in October. 7 Military spouses became US Citizens in our museum in a moving ceremony. Local businesses provided refreshments and decorations. We plan to host more of these ceremonies in the future.

We added many artifacts to our collection—we received hundreds of artifacts from various DODDS schools and a fabulous collection of memorabilia spanning four decades from a former DOD teacher. We acquired quite a few books for our library, and many locals in the Tijeras area have been dropping off family items to display.

In the fall, we hosted the Patriot Ride motorcycle run, as well as some disaster preparedness workshops. We started our “Mid-Month Movies” series. It will continue throughout 2017 with a different movie each month.

On November 5, we opened our fourth exhibit, GI Jokes: A (Somewhat) Light-hearted Look at Military Life. It was hosted at the Albuquerque Special Collections library. Up for a month, it closed in early December.

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Fellow University of Maryland Munich Campus (UMMC) alum Alexander George and I edited a compilation of memories from dozens of students who attended the UMMC. Proceeds from the book, Eins, Zwei, G’Suffa: Memories from Munich Campus will go to the Museum.

MAMF Writer-in-Residence Paul Zolbrod worked with veterans, active duty, and military family to compile stories for the museum’s anthology From the Frontlines to the Home Front: New Mexicans Reflect on War. Thanks to a grant from New Mexico Humanities Council, in early 2017, the museum will host reading and discussion groups throughout New Mexico.

On November 10th, MAMF’s military family memorial was delivered to its location in Santa Fe, and Paul Silva, our special projects “guru” will begin to convert it into a wonderful tribute to military families. Veteran artist Dominic Ruiz created panels for the project, using photos submitted from hundreds of military families.

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 As a board, we met formally quarterly, and, informally, almost daily in our special Facebook Group.

In recapping our events, I hope that you, the reader, will appreciate what we do, and will support us as we start the new year. Without continued monetary support, we will have to curtail the programming and exhibits we have become known for.

There are many ways to support us: sign up for Amazon Smile, or Smith’s Rewards. Use Goodsearch as your search engine or donate money through our GoFundMe account. Buy a copy of Eins, Zwei, G’Suffa or download our military brat inspired Christmas song, graciously recorded by the Winsor Trio. Proceeds from the download will go towards helping us fund a summer media camp for teens in 2017.  We always appreciate receiving a check in the mail or a having a new member sign up. We also have the “Buck a Brat” fundraiser through the end of 2016 to raise money to buy metal dandelion sculptures for the memorial.

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There are so many ways to help MAMF—and any contribution, big or small, will be appreciated so very much. All of our programming is free to the public and as is admission to our museum—but in order to pay the rent and keep the lights on, we depend on people to help us achieve this.

Upcoming Events for 2017 (Funding dependent):

  • February: Winterfest in Angel Fire
  • Dedication of Military Family Memorial
  • March/April: From Fatigues to Flags: Transformational Papermaking Workshops
  • May/June: Host Nation Hospitality exhibit about food and tourism in Japan, France and Germany
  • Fall/Winter: Schooling with Uncle Sam: One Teacher’s Travels exhibit under consideration
  • Also:
    Creation of SHOUT-an anthology of LGBTQ Service members and their Families
  • Media Summer Camp with Media Artist in Residence Jose Ponce

So as we end 2016 and look towards 2017, we are hopeful and resolved in our mission of telling the stories of America’s Military Families.

On behalf of MAMF, we wish you a happy, prosperous and safe 2017.

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