The Museum of the American Military Family is the brainchild of overseas brat, military wife and mom, Circe Olson Woessner. Incorporated as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, the Museum is the only one of its kind in the United States. It is the only Museum dedicated to celebrating the contributions of America’s military families.
Dr.Allen Dale Olson and Dr. Circe Olson Woessner in an interview with Commissioner Valerie Espinoza in March 2017
Dr. Jill Biden’s Thoughts on Military Families
Less than a month (April 2011) after we launched the website for the Museum of the American Military Family, Mrs. Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden appeared on THE VIEW to tell the nation about “Joining Forces,” their initiative to call for national support to military families. The establishment of Joining Forces had been announced in the national press a day or two earlier when the President named General McChrystal (Ret) and the wife of retired General Erik Shinsecki as the chairs of Joining Forces.
The then First Lady reminded viewers that most Americans have no direct contact with a military family, so she hopes through Joining Forces the general public will become aware of the special challenges and needs of military families.
Dr. Biden had a son in the military and said that most military families just blend into a community and never let it be known that they have unique concerns – “you may not even notice them,” she said. Both ladies said these families almost never ask for anything and urged viewers to take the initiative in finding them. Mrs. Obama added that the end of the wars will not end the need to support military members and their families.
As military family members, we bridge both the military and civilian cultures of wherever we happen to be. We identify as “sponsors” and “spouses” and as “dependents” and “brats”.
We pack up and move at the drop of a hat, we assimilate US and Host Nation cultures and customs, and we make and lose friends on a regular basis. We spend a lot of our time waiting. Our children are called “unrooted”. We are patriots to the end–long after the crowds have stopped cheering and we are left picking up the pieces.
As early as the 18th century, American mothers, wives and sisters watched and supported their fathers, husbands and brothers as they went off to war. In modern times, military service has become inclusive of men and women, widening the spectrum of family involvement and sacrifice. Military leaders tell us over and over that combat missions could not succeed without the support and strength of the family members behind their soldiers.
That’s why we need and want to tell the story of the American Military Family. 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.
We are now collecting, preserving, interpreting, and sharing the life stories of the people and families who have stood behind their soldiers in both peace and war throughout our nation’s history.
Please send us your written, audio or video stories or digital photographs of items you’d like the world to see. Check out our contact page to see how you can share these items via e-mail or how you can donate artifacts to our physical museum in Tijeras, New Mexico
Come with us on our journey as we create the Museum of the American Military Family. From the battlefields of the American Revolution to the homefronts of today, join us in celebrating and honoring our 400+ year history!