MAMF TURNS TEN

by Allen Dale Olson, Secretary

Museum of the American Military Family

It was probably sometime during the fall of 2010 that I first heard my daughter, Circe, mumbling to herself about a medal for military mothers. Her older son had been deployed to Iraq, and like most mothers of those in military combat zones, she was worried about him. Never mind that her husband had been deployed several times, it’s different when the soldier is your child. “We military moms are tough,” she told me, half-jokingly, “we should get some sort of medal.”

 

It wasn’t really a medal she was thinking about, but rather, something much bigger. “There must be a museum someplace,” she said and launched another search. Having grown up with my wife and me in military communities, she had heard many speeches and read many publications about the importance of family to a military man or woman. “But there are no museums for military moms,” she sighed. “Or for the spouses or kids. There are museums about  battles, squadrons, companies, and ships, but not one museum completely dedicated to the people who stand behind those soldiers, sailors, and airmen.”

 

A long pause. “So, I’ll start one.”

 

At first, I considered that comment one of those usually harmless unmeant promises, but a few days later when I asked her about it, I thoughtlessly added that it seemed like something I’d like to help her with.

 

That conversation resulted in a flurry of calls and talks with her friends and work colleagues and she and I meeting with state officials in an effort to find out how one starts a museum and then operates it after it has been founded. On March 23, 2011, under the business name Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center, we received our tax-exempt status as 501 c 3 and our CRS numbers and documents from the state Public Regulatory Commission and we had a museum, on-line only–with no funding or supporters, but a museum nonetheless.

Ten years later we have three galleries, a special collections library, and a gift shop in a vintage house along Old Route 66 near Albuquerque. We have an operating budget, some volunteers and an enthusiastic and dedicated board of directors. We have permanent exhibits illustrating what it’s like to be a military spouse, or a military kid, and one telling the history of the world-wide school system for military children operated by the Department of Defense. We have a series of revolving exhibits dealing with subjects such as addiction and recovery, military family life overseas, and G. I. humor.

 

We conduct town hall meetings bringing together the veteran and civilian community for discussions ranging from thoughts on war to helping veterans and their families re-integrate into civilian communities, and we work with the U.S. Immigration Service to host Naturalization ceremonies for military spouses. We have produced documentary films and published a number of anthologies, all first-hand stories about the challenges and achievements of military family life.

 

From the beginning, we made sure that all our programs, classes, and special events were free to the public. Our board of directors are all volunteers, and we have no paid staff. We have managed all our affairs because of donations and grants.

 

We have moved three times in our ten years and have now outgrown our current home. Finding a suitable place within our means is our highest priority going forward. We have been blessed with encouragement and cooperation with other museums in the area, and we owe a great deal to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History for hosting our first-ever exhibition and whose staff taught us much about running a museum.

 

Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, says she is grateful for all the volunteer and professional guidance she has received during the past decade and looks forward to a post-pandemic future of still more programs.

 

For a complete picture of everything about MAMF and its blogs and podcasts, visit www.militaryfamilymuseum.org.

 

 

Military Museum in Tijeras, NM Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Call for Stories from Military Families

by Erica Asmus-Otero

The Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF), located in Tijeras, New Mexico – is celebrating its 10th anniversary in March 2021.

In celebration of the anniversary, the museum is asking military families, both active and retired, to submit a memory to the MAMF about their military service on a postcard or birthday card.

“We want to connect with families through their stories and cards but cannot have a big celebration out of an abundance of caution with the pandemic,” said museum founder and military family member, Circe Woessner.

Founded in 2011, the MAMF collects, preserves and displays memorabilia and nostalgic stories donated by military families, providing ongoing support through podcasts, books, and other mediums.

“Many Americans don’t understand the sacrifices that the families of service men and women make – how many times their families are uprooted, have to assimilate with new cultures and customs, make and lose friends, and change schools or jobs on a regular basis,” said Woessner. “The MAMF brings to life the stories of these families through their memorabilia, while providing a support network of families who can truly relate with the many challenges and emotions we’ve all experienced.”

Postcard and birthday cards will be accepted throughout the month of March and will be carefully curated in a commemorative 10th anniversary album and posted on the museum’s Facebook page: @MuseumoftheAmericanMilitaryFamily. Birthday greetings can be sent directly to: MAMF 546B State Highway 333 Tijeras, NM 87059.

WANT AN EASIER WAY TO GIVE TO CHARITIES?

By W. Umber

Ask your financial advisor about a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) also known as a Charitable Giving Fund.  These accounts are setup through the financial services firm of your choice (Fidelity, Ameriprise, USAA, etc.).   You can fund this account with cash, stock, or other assets such as IRA minimum distributions, and you recommend an investment strategy once the assets are irrevocably transferred to the DAF.  The tax deduction for the charitable donation is taken at the time the assets are transferred into the DAF. Assets can continue to grow in value (tax free) depending on the investments you choose.  There may be other tax benefits depending on your situation.

Once the DAF is funded, you recommend “grants” or donations to your charity.  You can give anonymously, in memory of someone, or in support of specific projects.  The grant is made directly to the charity—no credit cards, checks, or websites to sign up for!  You will have a permanent record of the gifts you have made through the fund.

Essentially, this is like having a mini-foundation that you fund and control.  Check with your financial advisor to see if this is a good strategy for you, and don’t forget that you can donate to the Museum of the American Military Family through your Donor Advised Fund!

FIRST ESSAY CONTEST OF THE YEAR!

TOPIC: ID CARDS

Everyone associated with the military has got to have an ID card memory! Turning 10 and getting your first one, losing your ID and dealing with that, nostalgically holding on to it long after it expired, the awful picture that could be just about anyone, trying to buy alcohol and being told it didn’t “count..”  During the month of March, we want to share your ID Card story!

In your essay, written in first person, please describe to us your most memorable ID card moment/s.

Guidelines:

  • Essays must be no more than 800 words.
  • Please include your name and phone number along with your essay submission.

The first 4 entries will receive a patch or pin donated by Military Brat Seal, and the first-place winner will receive a “goody box” of awesome prizes. If you’ve submitted a story in a contest before—that’s okay!

All entries will be posted on FB and in one, or more, of our blogs. All submissions must be emailed to us at militaryfamilymuseum@comcast.net.

 

Good luck!

MAMF is proud to add a Student Liaison to its Team

Shanon Hyde, Student Liaison, is a Marine Corp brat and a student at Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Aerospace Engineering. From 2016-2019 he attended Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan and was the President of his Junior class. While living in Okinawa, he had the opportunity to travel to several different countries, learning about different cultures and worldviews. In May of 2020 he graduated from Mooresville High School in Mooresville, North Carolina. In August of 2020, he started The Shanon Show podcast, which allows him to connect with military brats and share their stories on the internet. Shanon is committed to shedding a light on the issues that student brats face when transitioning to college, career, and life. In his free time, Shanon loves to make homemade sausage and watch Adam Sandler movies.

2020 in Review

In a year that has been full of change and challenges, I’d like to share with you some of the successes that the museum has had, despite having been closed for nine months.

  • We received a generous grant from the Griffinhart Foundation to develop a curriculum to accompany SHOUT! The curriculum was developed by professors from San Francisco State University and Truman College, Chicago, and will “go live” in 2021. (SHOUT! is a play, an anthology—and soon to be a full-length film.)
  • We published two anthologies: Brat Time Stories: A Book for Nocturnal Brats and On Freedom’s Frontier: Life on the Fulda Gap.
  • We created personalized video tours of Operation Footlocker-one for a public school district in Illinois; the other for the Defense Department Schools. We also developed some virtual curriculum for DoDEA 4thgraders, using stories submitted by generations of military “brats.”
  • We created a virtual exhibit about the University of Maryland Munich Campus which opened in late September.
  • We started audio and video podcasting on our MAMF Media podcast, and offer a wide variety of programs. We presented several virtual poetry workshops with Tacoma Poet Laureate Abby Murray.
  • Our East Mountain Collaborative partnered with many entities to provide relevant programming on suicide prevention, addiction resources, stress management and home-schooling tips. We also explored news sources and discussed how to recognize “fake” and trusted sources. All of these are viewable at militaryfamilymuseum.podbean.com
  • We received an Award of Excellence from the American Association for State and Local History. It is our second such award in as many years. In 2018, we also received the AASLH prestigious Albert B. Corey prize for our innovativeness.
  • We were careful stewards of our resources, and through the generosity of our community and some CARES Act funding, we have made it through this year and are optimistic that next year will be better. We will restart our capital campaign towards a building purchase.
  • Through the year, our collections have continued to grow with new artifacts acquisition, so we have purchased museum cataloging software. Once we get the “go-ahead” to reopen, we will begin to inventory and catalog our collection.

So, while 2020 has pushed all of to our limits, it has made us, as an organization, learn to be more flexible, run leaner, and think way out of the box.

So, What’s the plan for 2021?

 

  • Our collaborative is planning several video programs—in January we will present “So You Want to Write a Book—Now What?”
  • We are collecting stories for a special anthology celebrating 75 years of DoDEA—if you have a memory or two about attending DoD schools, we’d like to include it in the book.
  • We will be reworking a 30-year-old original children’s book manuscript, “My Momma Wears Army Boots”
  • SHOUT is slated to be performed in Los Angeles and Providence and will be made into a full-length film.
  • We will begin a very comprehensive project looking at gender, race, identity, religion and culture in military/families.
  • Our podcast will continue to grow and evolve as we add more interviews, stories and programs.
  • We may even unveil a new exhibit!

We hope that these programs are of interest to you, and you participate as applicable.

Also: Our museum is looking for several volunteer board members/liaisons to join our team. If you’d like to help grow our award-winning museum, further its mission of preserving and curating military family history, please email us at militaryfamilymuseum@comcast.net. Please tell us why you’d like to serve on the board, your skill sets and what you envision your role as a team member could be. Even though we are in New Mexico, several of our board members live elsewhere.

When we are permitted to reopen, please know that our board/docents have taken the New Mexico Covid Certification training so that our visitors and volunteers are as safe as possible.

We look forward to hosting you-virtually and in person!

Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, Founder & Director MAMF

 

We miss you!

If you’re planning to visit us, please make an appointment 24 hours in advance, and if you can’t come visit in person, check out our blogs and podcasts or follow us on Facebook. View one of our many blogs, like https://weservedtoo.wordpress.com, our podcast at https://militaryfamilymuseum.podbean.com and our website, https://militaryfamilymuseum.org

In order to keep you and us safe, your hosts will have taken New Mexico’s Covid-Safe Training.

1 2 3 9