Tijeras, NM – “Pandemic or not, permanent home or not, we’ve made it through eleven years,” said Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, Founder and Director of the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF). “We’ve won national awards, published books, produced documentary films and a play, conducted classes and workshops, book and film discussion programs, and lived our goal to honor military families and preserve their legacies while sharing their stories and educating the public.”
Woessner says she is grateful to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History for hosting MAMF’s first-ever exhibit. “In fact,” Woessner says, “the Nuclear staff taught us how to be a museum. We were just a handful of educators, civil servants, and military veterans none of whom had had any museum experience.”
On March 23rd that early connection continues with an exhibit of information panels about women inventors in honor of Women’s History Month done in cooperation with the Nuclear Museum. “Even though we’re a small volunteer organization,” she says, “we manage to host rotating exhibits on various subjects and maintain permanent exhibits on what it’s like to be a military kid or a military spouse and the experience of working in or attending schools in the world-wide Defense Department School system.”
This year, MAMF would like military-connected families from all over to send a birthday greeting or postcard to the museum, sharing a short military memory for its “Postcard Project” collection. Over the decade, the museum has collected hundreds of postcards, each telling a short memory about military/family life—memories of WWII to the present.
MAMF maintains a special collections library which includes folios of first-hand stories by military veterans and family members going back to World War I and has artifacts collected by teachers and military family members from all parts of the world. Woessner explains that MAMF has been fortunate to have support from “New Mexico Arts, the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities, the American Association for State and Local History, and many donors and friends.”
MAMF publications and social media outlets proclaim the museum’s values – to welcome everyone regardless of age, ancestry, disability, national or ethnic origin, race, religious belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, political belief, or veteran status.
Birthday greetings and postcards can be mailed to MAMF at 546B State Hwy 333, Tijeras, NM 87059
An anthology of first-hand stories by teachers and students who experienced the DoDEA school system around the world during the years from 1946 to the present has recently launched on Amazon and copies have been mailed to the 58 author-contributors to the book so they will have them in time for the October observance of DoDEA’s 75th anniversary.
Schooling With Uncle Sam was compiled by Circe Olson Woessner and Allen Dale Olson, a father-daughter team with a combined total of 70 years of affiliation with the schools known today as DoDEA (Department of Defense Education Activity). Includes a Foreword by DoDEA Director, Tom Brady, and artwork by Joan Olson and information from the museum’s schools exhibit.
The anthology presents nearly100 first-hand stories and comments in a 346-page anthology by former teachers and students with experience in the world-wide K-12 school system operated by the Department of Defense since the end of World War II for the children of U.S. military personnel.
DoDEA will launch a press release and an anniversary web page on October 12th to commemorate the opening of the first schools in Germany, Japan, and Austria. Throughout the rest of the school year, they will roll out print and digital products to call attention to this special anniversary. Follow the DoDEA webpage to find links to organizations such as ours, to the anthology, and to the history and legacy of people and events that have helped preserve DoDEA history.
SCHOOLING WITH UNCLE SAM not only tells the history of the system but also opens windows on what it really is like to teach in or attend a typical American school on a military installation overseas. There are laughter and thrills, smiles and fears, adventure and tranquility highlighting the unique relationships among teachers and students.
Some early reviews read:
“It is after midnight and I’m sitting in easy chair reading the wonderful stories/memories written in this book… enjoyed 36 glorious years with DODEA. I miss those days. Thank u for giving all of us a time to reflect on our own experiences and relish reading the stories of others!”
“My copy came yesterday and I stayed up all night reading it! Wonderful, wonderful stories by such fabulous people! Thank you to everyone for sharing your memories! ❤️❤️❤️”
To buy the book, please click