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





For Immediate Release

Circe Olson Woessner
Museum of the American Military Family

Bethany Hawkins

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

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.

MAMF welcomes Artist-in-Residence; Brat Liaison

Artist-in-Residence Lora Beldon is an American artist, art educator, curator, and military brat, whose entire life’s work involves documenting the military child experience. She is the founder of Military Kid Art Project. She earned a BFA in Painting and Printmaking and Art Education from Virginia Commonwealth University.   Her art has been exhibited across the United States and Europe, with many pieces in private and corporate collections. Everywhere and Nowhere, is her recent conceptual series based on growing up within a war-deployed military household.  Beldon served as Assistant Director, and later, Director of 1708 Gallery, from 1989-1996, and remains an emeritus member of the gallery.  She is also on the board of Richmond’s Iridian Gallery, a new LGBTQ+ non-profit art space.  In 2011, Beldon teamed up with Donna Musil of Brats Without Borders, to co-curate the traveling art show “UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show” Subject of a documentary film: Lora and Tom Beldon – The father/daughter team are the subjects of Donna Musil’s new documentary “OUR OWN PRIVATE BATTLEFIELD. She coedited the Museum of the American Military Family’s 2017 anthology: Shout: Sharing Our Truth: Writings of LGBT veterans and family members of the US Military Services.

Brat Liaison Cliff Crawford is a second-generation military brat and a third-generation career Army Officer.  Born at Fort Rucker Alabama, Cliff lived in Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Kansas and Nebraska in the U.S.  but lived primarily in Germany as a child. He attended high school in Frankfurt and Augsburg, West Germany.  Upon graduation, Cliff attended the University of Maryland Munich campus. Upon completion of his studies in Munich, Cliff was accepted into the ROTC program at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville Alabama.  Commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer in 1986, Cliff spent the next 30 + years serving both as a regular Army Officer and a Reserve Officer.  Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks Cliff returned to the regular Army as a Logistics officer and served 3 combat tours in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan. Cliff is currently retired in Albuquerque NM and devotes his time to golf, skiing, music and supporting veteran / military charity projects


 by Dr. Allen Dale Olson

A Small, Unique Museum Tells How

               Imagine you are a teacher (or a lawyer or a cashier or any other employee who likes your job) married to a military spouse. At dinner one evening, you are informed that your spouse just got orders to move overseas or across the country. What happens to you? You, of course, should go along, but what about your own career? Is it over? Can it continue in the new location? Not likely if overseas. Maybe, but not for certain, if to another state.

            Imagine you are a high school football player and the coach has just told you he is counting on you for your senior year, and you come home to a father telling that the family is moving to Germany next month.

Imagine you just finished first grade in your American school in Japan and your mother says the family is moving back to the “States.” Your first thought is that’s what a lot of your friends did, and you never saw them again.

Imagine you’re the mother of two toddlers living in a Filipino village and your husband has been summoned to the base because the Marcos government is falling and there may be civil conflict; you are told to stay indoors till further notice, and you hear planes overhead, see military convoys out the windows. Radio and television services have all but shut down.

Imagine yourself living on an American air base in Turkey, and you learn there is a coup underway to topple the government. Both the State and Defense Departments are ordering evacuations of Americans, some to Germany, some back to America, some to Spain. The military member may go on duty; the family is rushed away to an uncertain location without much time to pack or plan. Your personal effects and furnishings are left in Turkey.

Imagine a school principal calling you and your sister to the office where your mother and a high ranking officer are waiting to tell you your father’s plane just went down in Afghanistan and that he did not survive.

Imagine your only child coming home in a flag-draped coffin, the son you had nursed and comforted in your arms so long ago, and now you will never see him again.

Imagine you are a teen whose father or mother has just been deployed to a war zone where the family cannot go, and it’s up to you to help with the younger kids and household management for the next few months.

Imagine you and your mother and your siblings are out on a tarmac to welcome home your father, the one you haven’t seen for more than two years, and he comes to you in a wheelchair without the legs you tried to keep up with  back when he would run and play with you.

These are real life situations faced by members of America’s military families. A child of a soldier or airman, sailor or marine will pass through an average of five or six schools en route to graduation. A son or daughter will probably have lived in at least one foreign country by the third grade. Almost one-fourth of all military kids – “Brats” – enter first grade speaking a language other than English.

These compelling stories of heroism, courage, strength, and pride are collected and preserved by the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF), the only museum in the country  completely dedicated to the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, spouses, and partners who have loved and supported a member of America’s armed forces.

MAMF was founded in 2011 by Dr. Circe Olson Woessner (daughter of the author) while her son was serving in Iraq and her husband had just retired from an Army career (during which he had also deployed to  Middle Eastern and  Haitian combat areas). The Woessners and their two sons had moved eighteen times during LTC Woessner’s service before settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Woessner was worried about her son in Iraq but noted that military wives and mothers are tough and brave and deserve recognition for their sacrifices and service. How about a museum, like those for specific battles, squadrons, ships, or military units. Not really. A few museums, like the Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, have a small gallery about Army family life, but they are generally military branch specific. “I’ll start one,” she said.

For four years MAMF was an on-line presence, collecting documents, artifacts, photos, documents, and first-hand stories from around the world and from every war, including the American civil war. A handful of volunteer board members managed to sort and catalog and keep books and get tax-exempt status and register with the state public regulations committee and oversee the safe-keeping of everything in temporary facilities, including Woessner’s garage. » Read more

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.

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