Our Museum is Recognized for its Creative Programming

by Circe Olson Woessner

When I first read the e-mail, my heart skipped a beat.

“On behalf of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), I am delighted to inform you that the Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center was selected as the 2018 Albert B. Corey Award winner by the Leadership in History Awards committee. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards is the nation’s most prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in state and local history.”

In 2011, when we founded the museum, our small board had no idea what we were doing. We had an idea—and good intentions—and that was about it. We were not museum people; we were federal employees and retirees. We knew we wanted our museum to have meaningful, thoughtful programming, and that it would touch on all aspects of military life—the good, the bad, and everything in between.  We wanted to portray an accurate picture into military family life, and to represent all types of military families.
I continued reading.

“The Albert B. Corey Award is named in honor of a founder and former president of AASLH and recognizes primarily volunteer-operated organizations that best display the qualities of vigor, scholarship, and imagination in their work.  We congratulate you for the work that has brought this honor.”

Without a formal museum background, we had to be creative and intuitive. What would we military families like to tell? We collected stories for our anthologies, From the Front lines to the Home Front:New Mexicans Reflect on War, War Child: Lessons Learned from Growing Up in War,and Shout! Sharing Our Truths: Writings from LGBT Veterans and their Families, and hosted theatrical productions, we created exhibits such as Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family, Schooling With Uncle Sam, GI Jokesand Inside Out: Memories From Inside the Closet.  With these exhibits, we discussed military family life, showcased the DoD schools’ history, explained military humor, and, though art, shared LGBT service members’ experiences. We built a memorial to military families up in Santa Fe. Our small volunteer force poured our heart and soul into our programming.

An actor performs with the museum’s “Brathood installation” in the background

Members of the MAMF Board stand in front of the Military Family Memorial in Santa Fe.

It was because we tell the military family story in creative ways, we were awarded the Corey Award.

We’ve used hot pads, ACU shirts and pants, aprons and paper as canvas to create a visual portrait of military family life.  We’ve collaborated in theatrical productions and filmed a short documentary, Love Song for the Dead: Honoring the Sacrifice & Service of New Mexico’s Military Families.  In late 2018-2019 we plan exhibits around Host Nation Hospitality, Addiction/Recovery, and a Korean War-era Christmas exhibit and picture book set in Cold War Japan. We are collaborating on a play with several theatrical groups in Richmond, VA, thanks to a generous grant from the Arcus Foundation.

Because people process information in different ways, every year we think of new ways to tell the military family story, and as things change, we try to keep up with history.

We could not have received the Corey award without all the people out there—to include Nucleus readers—who have offered suggestions, contributed a story or two, or who have answered a call to volunteer or to donate items.  We depend on the generosity of strangers to donate a dollar to two to our coffers to fund a project and to help us pay the rent.

We are excited for the future—and want to thank you for your support—and your trust. We could not tell your story without your permission—and we are proud that so many people have trusted us with their memories.

If you haven’t visited us, yet—please do—we are open weekends from 12:30-5:00 and by appointment.


Phil Pohl, Special Projects Manager, Director Circe Olson Woessner, and Allen Dale Olson Secretary/Public Affairs in front of the Museum in Tijeras

 

Museum of the American Military Family 
Wins 2018 AASLH Albert B. Corey Award

 

 

 

 

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Circe Olson Woessner
circe@militaryfamilymuseum.org
505-504-6830
Museum of the American Military Family

Bethany Hawkins
hawkins@aaslh.org
615-320-3203
AASLH

Museum of the American Military Family 
Wins 2018 AASLH Albert B. Corey Award

NASHVILLE, TN—June 2018—The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the Tijeras-based Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center is the recipient of the Albert B. Corey Award for the program, INSIDE OUT: Memories from Inside the Closet. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 73rd year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

The Albert B. Corey Award is named in honor of a founder and former president of AASLH and recognizes primarily volunteer-operated organizations that best display the qualities of vigor, scholarship, and imagination in their work. The Leadership in History Awards committee presents the Corey Award at their discretion. This special honor also includes a $500 award for the organization.

“Inside Out: Memories from Inside the Closet,” is an exhibit at the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) which debuted on September 17, 2017 with a music and spoken word program. The exhibit is a collection of personal stories and art painted on military uniform shirts by LGBTQ military veterans and facilitated by psychologist Dr. Kyle Erwin, of El Paso, TX. The exhibit coincided with the release of a MAMF anthology titled SHOUT! Sharing Our Truth: Writings by LGBT veterans and family members of the US Military Services. The book is co-edited by Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, MAMF Executive Director, and Richmond, VA, resident Lora Beldon, MAMF Artist in Residence, Founder of Military Kid Art Project and Co-Director of The BRAT Art Institute. In late 2018, MAMF will collaborate with Richmond’s TheatreLAB, also with help from Diversity Richmond, on a play, based in part, from the anthology, and will launch its follow-up exhibit, “Still Shouting!” in New Mexico.

This year, AASLH is proud to confer forty-four national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2018 AASLH Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday, September 28. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and
local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to www.aaslh.org.

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, a monthly newsletter, and maintains numerous affinity groups and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors an annual meeting, regional and national training in-person workshops, and online training.
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5th Thursdays at MAMF

The Museum of the American Military Family and East Mountain Venture Crew 11 invite you to drop by the Museum for 5th Thursdays. The Crew will be on hand to interview you about your military service or your military family experiences, as well as to share items from our Operation Footlocker. If you have a nice speaking voice and would like to help us record some of our written memoirs, please stop by. Everyone has a story to tell—we’d love you to share yours with us! Stop by the Museum between 7:00-9:00 PM Thursday, August 31. We are located at 546 B Highway 333, Tijeras, right next to Molly’s Bar.

“INSIDE OUT” – LGBT Military Veterans Share Their Truth A New Exhibit at the Museum of the American Military Family

 

For Immediate Release

 For Additional Information: Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, Executive Director (505) 504-6830

Inside Out: Memories from Inside the Closet, a new exhibit at the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) in Tijeras, debuts on September 17 with a special music and spoken word program from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. The exhibit is a collection of special works painted on military uniforms by LGBT military veterans and will launch the release of a MAMF anthology titled SHOUT! Sharing Our Truth — stories by LGBT veterans and family members about their experiences both in the military and in re-integrating into civilian communities. Anthology authors will read from their works during the program. The book is co-edited by Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, MAMF Executive Director, and Lora Beldon, Founder of Military Kid Art and Co-Director of Military Brat Institute.

Woessner explains that “MAMF is an all-inclusive Museum dedicated to present all aspects of life in and around military service. Through our anthology and this exhibit, we share with the public unique stories that haven’t often been told.”

Beldon says she is “honored to be able to be a part of the military family museum by co-editing the SHOUT Anthology. The military family museum does wonderful work for our communities, both military and civilian. Any time someone makes a huge effort to reach out to military brats young and old and then  reaches  even further to military communities that are more marginalized! People reach out so seldom, that you have to take notice of those people or groups that make that effort. The military family museum does it over and over and over.”

Woessner says the exhibit program is “exceptionally timely because of recent announcements from the White House about transgender citizens serving in the military and because it presents views of LGBT military life during the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era.’”

Inside Out” will run through mid-October and is free to visitors. Also on display are the MAMF permanent exhibits showing the sacrifices and service of military families, the history of elementary and secondary schools around the world for military kids, and a collection of humorous cartoons about military life.

MAMF is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30 till 6:00 pm or by appointment. It is at 546B State Highway 333 (Old Route 66) in Tijeras right next to Molly’s Bar. Telephone: (505) 504-6830; e-mail militaryfamilymuseum@comcast.net. More information is available at www.militaryfamilymuseum.org.

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