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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.

Looking Back–2018

By Circe Olson Woessner, Director, MAMF

It has become an annual event to reflect on our past years’ accomplishments and goals achieved, and to marvel how much our small-but-mighty board gets done. So, here’s MAMF’s year in review.

In February, we had a Valentines making class. A couple of days later, we helped with a chili cook-off fundraiser at Indian motorcycle of Albuquerque. It was a great success and we made some new friends and raised some money for Run for the Wall (RFTW).

In the spring, we had a DODDS teacher/student get-together and completed our “Brathood” project. Last year, we’d  asked people on Facebook to give us quotes describing military brat “core values” and wrote them on the antique car hoods we  have in our backyard. We filled in the gaps with more quotes, and called the project done.

We learned that one of our videos on the museum website took first place in the New Mexico Press Women communications contest and received an honorable mention in the National Federation of Press Women’s contest.

May was busy as usual. We started the month with our War and Peace Fest, hosted events for RFTW riders at the museum and in the community. I was the New Mexico Midway Route Coordinator for RFTW, and was responsible for coordinating meals, route permitting, law-enforcement, stops and events as they crossed New Mexico over two days. Volunteers from all over the state went out of their way to feed, entertain, and host nearly 350 riders passing through on their ride from California to Washington, DC.

Also, in May, we underwent the Collections Assessment Preservation process, and a museum expert came out to look at our collections, assessed our facility, and made recommendations based on her findings. We learned a great deal and look forward to putting some of those suggestions into place in 2019.

In June, we were thrilled to learn that we had won the 2018 American Association of State and Local History’s Albert B. Corey prize, a huge honor for our relatively new and very small museum.

Over the summer, we filmed our 10-minute music-documentary Love Song for the Dead at both the museum and at the VA hospital in town.

In August, we had a booth at the Albuquerque VA Golden Age Games and thousands of veterans and their family members came from all over the country to participate in athletic events. It was a lot of fun and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

In September, I was asked to guest lecture in one of the museum studies graduate classes at the University of New Mexico and our museum began working with a team of MBA interns from the UNM Anderson School of Management.

For its 86thbirthday, I created a small exhibit telling of the Albuquerque VA’s history, now on permanent display in the cafeteria at the hospital.

In October, we once again hosted a professor from the University of San Francisco, who is working on a book about military spouses. We coordinated meetings with spouses and military family programs directors on Kirtland Air Force Base.

On October 13, as one of the stops on the VA’s inaugural suicide prevention ride from Albuquerque to Angel Fire, NM, we hosted the riders at the museum and had a one-day pop-up exhibit on addiction and recovery. We also previewed our Love Song for the Dead at the at the chapel at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire.

We hosted two naturalization ceremonies in 2018. We love to do them. It is so moving and wonderful to be with people as they become US citizens!

We displayed our exhibit Inside Out at Sandia National Labs on Coming Out Day, and also as part of the 10th anniversary of the Love Armor project at the Contemporary Center for the Arts in Santa Fe.

In late fall, I attended the New Mexico Association of Museums conference in Taos, where I learned a great deal about museums and place-making, and met a lot of great people with whom we’ll collaborate in the future…Speaking of collaboration, our museum was asked to contribute artifacts to Hometown Heroes,an exhibit of Medal of Honor recipients from the state of New Mexico, and a Vietnam War exhibit at the West Baton Rouge Museum in Louisiana.

We officially debuted Love Song for the Dead and introduced our Lines Across Time project the first weekend in November.

Veterans Day weekend contributors read passages from our anthologies at Bookworks, a local independent bookstore in Albuquerque.

So, what seemed to be a slow year, actually was really a year full of substantive events in our progress.

We couldn’t have done it without our board members, our volunteers, our supporters, and our donors…

We thank you all and wish all of you a wonderful 2019. (Big plans to be unveiled in early February!)

 

 

 

 

 

Premier for our film “Love Songs for the Dead” and the Debut of “Lines Across Time: A Memory Booth Project”

On November 3, we had a very moving and inspiring day–remembering and honoring our loved ones who’d passed on. About 30 people screened our film or participated in our memory booth project, which is a joint project between MAMF and UNM’s Arts-in-Medicine program. Mary Cockburn (R1 of NM) and Kelly Frey (Hometrust Mortgage) are both part of the Heroes Home Advantage real estate program.

 

 

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

 

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