For Immediate Release:
PRIDE! LGBTQ+ Military Family Social
The Shared Voices of LGBTQ+ Military, Veterans, Spouses, Brats and Allies.
Richmond, Petersburg, Hopewell, Tri-city area LGBTQ+ Military and military affiliated organizations have joined together to offer the first ever LGBTQ+ Military Family Pride Social on Saturday, September 1, from 7-9 pm. Come out for an evening of socializing, entertainment, speakers and an “open mic”, at Rajun Cajun Seafood, Petersburg, VA.
Multiple organizations including the Museum of the American Military Family Museum, Military Kid Art Project, Trans Veteran Society of Virginia, TheatreLAB, and the Petersburg Pride Committee are coordinating the event, which will be held at DJ’s Rajun Cajun Seafood in Petersburg, a gay owned establishment and the hub of Petersburg Pride.
The first ever Pride! LGBTQ+ Military Family Social, created in conjunction with the two cities celebrating Pride this year, will have entertainment, food, drinks, music, skits, laughs, readings, and personal stories all in honor of the LGBTQ+ Military Family life. “Military Family” from all branches of the military, retired LGBTQ+ Military, current service members, spouses and all dependents, Brats, no matter the age and the allies that support them.
There will be an open-mic and all are encouraged to share LGBTQ+ military family related stories. The stories will be held to a 2-minute maximum of time and must be PG rated. Lora Beldon, founder of Military Kids Art Project and Artist-in-Residence of the Museum of the American Military Family says, “You don’t have to share a story to come and enjoy the evening. The Military Family Museum just released its anthology of LGBTQ+ Military Family in SHOUT! Sharing Our Truth. As a military Brat, I was honored to have contributed a story and artwork, as well as co-edited the anthology. The book will be available for purchase at the event and both Richmond and Petersburg Pride. The publication, along with an accompanying exhibit recently was honored by the American Association of State and Local History’s Albert B. Corey Prize.
Veteran Yessica Gonzalez-Hernandez, a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Victim Advocate, and a Petersburg Pride committee member says, “This event is incredibly important! It will be an opportunity to promote inclusion and celebrate the service of LGBTQ+ Service Members and their families.”
To pre-sign up to share a story email Lora Beldon at LKBeldon@hotmail.com, or sign up the night of the event. Space is limited. First come first serve. Also visit the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1058871680928195/
The PRIDE! LGBTQ+ Military Family Social Event is open to the public Saturday, September 1, 7-9pm. Location, DJ’s Rajun Cajun Seafood Restaurant. 309 North Sycamore Street, Old Towne Petersburg, Virginia, 23803. http://www.djsrajuncajun.com
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.
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.
For Immediate Release
Circe Olson Woessner
Museum of the American Military Family
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.
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
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.