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.
Museum of the American Military Family To Publish Korean War Novel
At its March Open House, The Museum of The American Military Family announced the acquisition of the novel, Battle Songs: A Story of the Korean War in Four Movements. Written by Author in Residence Paul Zolbrod, a retired Allegheny College English Professor now living in New Mexico, it will be published by the newly established MAMF Press this spring. It follows four draftees inducted from mining and farming communities in rural Western Pennsylvania to fight in Korea in the early nineteen fifties. There each must each must confront the absurdity of combat within the framework of hisown identity to understand a war that remains unresolved to this day.
Copies are expected to go on sale by early April, with all proceeds slated to help underwrite routine Museum operating expenses. This book comes on the heels of an earlier Museum publication, From the Frontlines to the Home Front, an anthology of reflections of deployment edited by Zolbrod and written by veterans themselves, as well as family members of those who served over a period covering World War II through the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Copies are being distributed without charge by way of a series of open discussions sponsored by the Museum thanks to a New Mexico Humanities Council grant. Or they will be available directly from the Museum in exchange for a donation.
Plans are underway for another Museum anthology, War Child: Lessons Learned from Growing Up in War, again, with a family perspective in keeping with the Museum’s mission. Those wishing to contribute a story of their own are invited to do so. It should express a child’s point of view but from all perspectives–service members who were still teen-agers when deployed; adults who as children grew up in a war zone; or children who had a parent or sibling serving in war. Submissions can be about the recent campaigns, Vietnam, the Korean War era, World War II, and all conflicts in between. All pieces should be from a child’s perspective and, if applicable, include a reflection or lesson learned from the experience.
The Museum would especially like to include stories from children and young adults whose parents are currently serving. A story can be as long or as short as the writer chooses. Just make it heartfelt, honest, and interesting. We are looking for stories of trial and triumph and loss–stories that illustrate the variety of events that impact on day-to-day family life in war times. Potential writers do not have to consider themselves accomplished writers to participate. Editorial services will be available to sharpen contributions when needed. Stories can be submitted online to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Museum of the American Military family is a non-profit organization with a national outreach headquartered in Tijeras, New Mexico.
By Libby Hopkins
Until Vietnam, American wars were truly an enigma to families and the country back home. Still photos, long awaited letters, films created by United States officials, and news reports whose information came from government spokespeople were all that loved ones and the American public could see. In contrast, due to most American families having television in their homes by the time of Vietnam, actual visual footage of war was broadcast directly into regular Americans’ living rooms.
Fast forward to the present, real time news with graphic visuals transmitted digitally by embedded reporters is commonplace. Further, loved ones can often communicate with their deployed service members in actual time via email, text or Facebook messaging, and can even see one another and the troops’ surroundings while communicating via Skype, Face Time or the like. Consequently, parents, spouses and other loved ones can have access to up-to-the-minute information about the service member and his/her unit’s whereabouts, combat situation, location, movements, schedule and leave expectations. When a loved one gets excited and innocently shares that information with friends and loved ones publicly on social media, there can be dire consequences.
Something as simple as, “So excited that John’s coming home from Fallujah on Thursday in time for the birth of the baby”, posted on Facebook or Twitter, could trigger consequences ranging from the entire unit’s leave being delayed or cancelled, to tipping off the enemy as to the unit’s plans to move out, possibly jeopardizing missions, damaging national security, causing territory to be overtaken or even the loss of American or allied troops, or civilian lives. » Read more
The Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center (MAMF) had a very eventful summer. On July 9, we had a ribbon cutting and opened the doors to very own space right next to the very famous Molly’s Bar.
We are happy to be part of the vibrant East Mountain community—our home in Tijeras is right on historic Route 66 and at the foot of the Turquoise Trail, a National Scenic Byway.
We had a large crowd at our grand opening: Senator Heinrich’s New Mexico office sent a representative who read a personal message from the Senator, Gloria Chavez, the Mayor of Tijeras, also made some remarks. Kirtland Air Force Base was represented, as was the Veteran community. We are very blessed to have such great support.
On July 21st, our board had its quarterly meeting, and we said goodbye to our Veteran Liaison, Elisabeth Sacco, who was moving back East. Our board is very involved in all of MAMF’s projects, and we went over the upcoming summer’s events and coordinated our schedules to include staffing the museum.
On August 3rd, MAMF Secretary/Public Affairs Ole represented MAMF at an Ernie Pyle Day planning meeting at the New Mexico Veteran’s Memorial. The Ernie Pyle Day is planning commemorative events in Albuquerque for 2017, and we will be participating.
On August 6, MAMF Director Circe, Spouse Liaison Stacy and Community Liaison Lisa took Operation Footlocker out to the Route 66 Run, Rally and Rock festival in Edgewood. MAMF Volunteers Jude and Ed staffed the museum for the day. Writer in Residence Paul dropped by and shared his extensive knowledge of history and literature with visitors.
On August 7 Circe and her husband Bill drove up to Santa Fe and met with representatives from the National Guard to pick out a location for the Military Family Memorial that MAMF is creating. It was determined that a spot right in front of the Bataan Military Museum would be perfect.
On August 31, Circe and Ole spoke to New Mexico Legislators at a special interim committee session at Central New Mexico College. The presentation was well received.
September 6th Ole was on the “Veterans Today” radio show on KVSF. He spoke to radio host Chris Abeyta about our need for help in constructing the Military Family Memorial as well as our soon-to-be released anthology, From the Frontlines to the Home Front: New Mexicans Reflect on War.
On September 16, MAMF hosted a Naturalization Ceremony for seven military wives who became US Citizens right in our “home”. Because September 16 is also POW/MIA Day and Constitution Day, the ceremony was especially meaningful. The guest speaker was military wife Mehreen Naqvi-Sharazee, herself a naturalized US citizen. Triangle Grocery in Cedar Crest provided a cake and Melba’s Floral Studios in Albuquerque created a gorgeous floral display and provided us with long-stemmed yellow roses for each new citizen.
On September 24, 35 motorcyclists dropped by MAMF as part of their Patriot Run, a fund-raiser for Run For the Wall and for the Sandoval County Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.
On September 29 Ole and Circe attended the New Mexico Arts and the Military Arts/Humanities Round Table hosted by New Mexico Arts. Many artists, members of the New Mexico state government, representatives for the VA, and other service organizations participated.
Fall is here, and the museum is gearing up for a busy couple of months—we have an exhibit: GI Jokes: A Somewhat Lighthearted Look at Military Life opening on November 5th at the Special Collections Library at 423 Central NE in Albuquerque. Comic Warehouse and Kaufman’s West are sponsors of the exhibit. Paul, our Writer-in-Residence has just finished editing an anthology: From the Frontlines to the Home Front: New Mexicans Reflect on War. Our museum will be hosting reading/discussion groups using this book, which will not be for sale commercially. The book will debut around November 11. Stay tuned for dates and locations for the book groups.
Director Circe and Alexander George, both University of Maryland, Munich Campus alumni, have co-edited an anthology Eins, Zwei, G’Suffa: Memories from Munich Campus which is the third book in a series of memoirs. All proceeds from the book will go to support programming at the Museum of the American Military Family.
MAMF will also sponsor “mid-month movies”, a series of three WWII films generously donated by the WWII Foundation for MAMF to show. The first will be on October 15th at the Museum at 3:00 PM.
The most important project MAMF is working on is the creation of a memorial honoring military families-all generations and branches. It is slated to be placed in Santa Fe this November —fundraising is ongoing to bring this important memorial to fruition. The museum needs only $5,000 more to complete the project. Please help. All donations are appreciated…and donors will be acknowledged on the memorial signage.
Looking forward to 2017, MAMF plans two exhibits:
Host Nation Hospitality (May-June)and Passports and Pedagogy: One Teacher’s Travels (TBD) as well as a couple of transformative papermaking workshops in February/March.
All programs and exhibits are brought to the public free of charge and so MAMF depends on the generosity of individual donations and grants. Please consider a tax free donation to the Museum of the American Military Family an all-volunteer run 501 c 3 non-profit. To donate, please click here
Or send a check to:
Museum of the American Military Family
PO Box 5085
Albuquerque, NM 87185
As we moved The Museum of the American Military Family into its new location in Tijeras, my husband mentioned the irony of moving a museum directly into the path of the raging Doghead Fire. I retorted that we might have to keep the U-Haul, which we’d rented for the museum move, to evacuate our home, which was also in potential danger.
As the fire neared our neighborhood, I walked around our house making a list of what I should take, and I photographed everything I could think of, just in case I needed to file a claim. At night, instead of sleeping, I mentally evacuated the museum.
Luckily, we didn’t have to evacuate anything, but the exercise made me realize how vulnerable we are—and how, as a military wife, it was so easy for me to determine what was necessary to salvage, and what was disposable. » Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 21, 2016
For additional information: Dr. Circe Olson Woessner (505) 504-6830
THE MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY FAMILY (MAMF) IS ON THE MOVE
Old Route 66 is getting a new tenant. The nation’s only museum dedicated to the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, spouses, and other family members of those who serve and have served in America’s military is settling in at the I-40 interchange with Tijeras. Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, says the move is going well, “and we plan a grand opening at 3:30 p.m. on July 9.”
Till last summer, MAMF was an on-line presence, but last July set up temporarily in the Bataan Military Academy yet continued providing programs in various venues, to include Explora, the Balloon Museum, the National Nuclear Museum, the South Broadway Cultural Center, the Special Collections Library, the Veterans Memorial Park, schools, and patriotic ceremonies around the state. Its Operation Footlocker mobile exhibit program travels throughout the country and its Flat Stanley and Flat Stella programs follow military families around the world.
“Like everything we do,” Woessner said, “our move to Tijeras is done by volunteers. We are an all-volunteer entity with no paid staff, and our programs and classes are supported by grants, donors, and volunteers, and they’ve all been packing, carrying, unpacking, cleaning, and painting to get us ready to open next month. All of our Directors and Advisors are volunteers.”
Woessner said the new facility will have an artifacts/exhibit area, a library, a crafts room, and a gift shop. “We’re in a house,” she said; “the former home of Molly who established the historic destination bar bearing her name, so as visitors walk in they’ll see what could be the home of a military family that makes a new home every two or three years.”
Exhibition panels describe the various elements affecting family life in the military and the kinds of schools military children attend around the world.
“We’ll be open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays,” she said, “and we’ll be free to the public.” She said there’s plenty of free parking and praised the attractiveness of the Tijeras Pass leading some seven miles east of Albuquerque along Old Route 66 (Central Avenue), including the “Musical Road.”
The Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) is at 546 State Highway 333 (Old Route 66), Tijeras, NM 87059. Tel: (505) 504-6830; email@example.com; P.O. Box 5085, Albuquerque, NM 87185. www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org.
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Years ago, MAMF began designing its memorial honoring military families. Since then, people have donated a little over $5,000 towards the project. Originally, MAMF wanted to convert one of the seven military housing units it had been gifted into the memorial, but has since determined that those houses will prove too costly to renovate and rehabilitate for the project.
MAMF has redesigned its memorial, incorporating original artifacts from the historic Kirtland AFB houses. They have commissioned an Albuquerque firm to create 3D dandelion sculptures, which will be unveiled later this summer.
Here’s a rough sketch of the memorial building honoring those who “kept the home fires burning…”
The Memorial will be placed with the New Mexico National Guard in late 2016, thanks to the generous donations of individuals, businesses and organizations. It will take an additional $10,000 to bring this Memorial to fruition. If you’d like to help MAMF create this unique tribute to the countless men, women and children who serve alongside America’s heroes, please click here to donate, or send a check to:
MAMF, PO Box 5085 Albuquerque, NM 87185 . We are a 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit and your donations are tax deductible.