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.
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.
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.
On November 15, 2014, the Museum of the American Military Family, the City of Albuquerque , ChoppHearse, the Albuquerque Balloon Museum, and dozens of other organizations and groups collaborated on a “Salute to Our Heroes”. It was an amazing event.
The event started off with a motorcade and a flag line. Museum visitors joined cadets from several JROTC and ROTC units, the Young Marines and Bataan Military Academy. Distinguished guests from the National Guard, the City of Albuquerque and Service Organizations joined the procession into the Balloon Museum, where Director Sandor Cohen welcomed them, saying,
“WE ARE TRULY HONORED TO BE HERE TODAY AS PART OF A VERY SPECIAL OCCASION THAT PAYS TRIBUTE TO OUR BELOVED VETERANS – DEFENDERS OF OUR FREEDM – AND TO SUPPORT A VERY SPECIAL NEW MUSEUM IN THE ALBUQUERQUE AREA THAT NOT ONLY HONORS THE HEROES IN OUR MILITARY…BUT THAT ALSO TELLS THE STORY OF THEIR FAMILIES AND LOVED ONES, WHO EQUALLY EXEMPLIFY THAT SAME SENSE OF DUTY AND SACRIFICE AND LOVE OF COUNTRY THAT WE FIND IN THOSE WHO SERVE.”
As part of the program, there was a very moving flag folding ceremony followed by MAMF Director, Circe Olson Woessner accepting the flag, and reminding the audience,
“…So when celebrating Veterans Day, we should remember all of our Veterans, by thanking them for their service, listening to their stories…welcoming them home, but we also need to remember the ones who have died without ever telling their stories, the ones who are living in poverty on the streets, the ones that have no family or are being honored by strangers. Today, we specially honor them and welcome them to our family. ” » Read more
By Allen Dale Olson
… Recently, Caroline LeBlanc, the Museum of the American Military Family MAMF Artist-in-Residence, told attendees at the 17th Annual New Mexico Veteran’s Art Show in Albuquerque, NM, that organizations such as the Veterans Artists Project and the Museum of the American Military Family help Veterans transition from military to civilian life
She explained that the “arts are healing and that treatment programs for Veterans increasingly incorporate art, writing, and performance into therapeutic regimens.”
LeBlanc, who co-directed the Telling Project through six performances in Albuquerque and who directed the oral presentation “Four Voices,” used those as examples of how Veterans and military family members find that “everyone is enriched through creative expression.”
She encouraged attendees to send their stories to MAMF because we “need more meaningful exchanges between American civilian and military citizens about the realities of military service, particularly in time of war, and about what the defense of our American lifestyle truly costs.”
LeBlanc also received two awards in the show – one for pottery and one for knitting. She is an Army nurse Veteran and an Army wife who lived through the Vietnam War as well as her husband’s deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FROM: THE LEA COUNTY MUSEUM
American Military Family Exhibit Opens at Lea County Museum Oct. 13
On Monday, Oct. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Lea County Museum in Lovington will open to the public a traveling exhibit that focuses on the hardships and rewards experienced by families of U.S. military personnel.
Titled “Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family” will be on loan for two months from the Museum of the American Military Family in Albuquerque. Its debut showing was earlier this year at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, also located in Albuquerque.
Director of the MAMF Dr. Circe Woessner will be on hand for the opening of the exhibit in Lovington. She is a former overseas brat whose husband served in the Army for 20 years before his retirement.
The exhibit focuses on several themes, including family members as unsung heroes, loss and grieving, and the importance of different forms of communications between families and those serving in the military.
The exhibit includes several ways for visitor interaction. One way is that visitors can contribute to Operation Footlocker, a traveling repository of items and memorabilia put together by Military Brats.
Many generations of Military Brats grew up with footlockers—their transient lifestyle meant that their possessions had to be easily fit into something that could be packed up and moved away at a moment’s notice. Toys, books, keepsakes—anything that didn’t fit, often had to be left behind.
Now there is a footlocker for all Brats, traveling around the country, collecting items and memories—as a repository for trinkets and treasures of generations of Brats.
The footlocker travels around the USA–to Brat functions, to schools, to libraries…to anywhere people gather who want to learn more about the military family experience. People come, pour over the contents of the footlocker set out for display and frequently contribute their own items, registering them in the footlocker’s logbook. Some people choose to sit down on the spot and write out a favorite story or memory, adding it to the notebooks, which travel with the footlocker.
Inside a typical footlocker there many folders of stories, photos and memorabilia from Brats who attended schools on military installations in the US and Overseas. There are tee shirts, letter jackets, cheerleader sweaters, buttons, yearbooks from various DoD schools, and souvenirs from around the world. There are toys and letters, beer mugs and books—and each footlocker has a mascot.
Wherever the footlocker is, Brats gather, and tell their story by adding an item to the growing collection. Since 1996, there is now a “fleet” of seven footlockers. When they are not traveling the country, they reside at the Museum of the American Military Family in Albuquerque.
When you visit the exhibit, please bring an item or written memory piece with you to donate to the footlocker collections. Items can be dropped off at the Lea County Museum to be added to a footlocker after the exhibit closes. Donated items become part of the Museum of the American Military Family’s permanent collection.
The exhibit will remain at the Lea County Museum for two months until just before Christmas.
For more information about the exhibit, call the museum at 575-396-4805
THE MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY FAMILY (MAMF)
Invites all generations of veterans & military family performers,
Community members and businesses to participate in the TELLING PROJECT ALBUQUERQUE
South Broadway Cultural Center, September 11, 13, 19 & 20, 2014
THE TELLING PROJECT ALBUQUERQUE is a testimonial theatrical performance that brings together all generations of veterans, military family members, artists, community partners, and volunteers to increase the understanding between military and civilian community members.
A small group of local volunteers have been already been hard at work to make Telling Albuquerque a success. We invite you and your organization to contribute to its success by helping us with any of the things below. Contact Caroline LeBlanc, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
–VOLUNTEERS TO PERFORM: VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILY MEMBERS, 18 years of age and older, who are interested in telling their stories on stage. Men and women are invited to interview with our director, Max Rayneard, who will help you turn your story into a performance during the rehearsal process. If you wish to perform, email email@example.com .
–CIVILIAN AND MILITARY VOLUNTEERS TO HELP with various tasks before the performance date and/or during the performance as ushers, etc.
–DONATIONS of money or services in kind for such things as space rental, promotional & printing costs, and food for veteran/family member performers during rehearsals.
–SPREAD THE WORD OR SEND US INFORMATION on how tocontact others who may be interested in learning about the TELLING PROJECT ALBUQUERQUE or helping to make it happen.
–INDIVIDUAL AND BUSINESS SPONSORS: Contact Caroline LeBlanc for further information
STAFF: National Producer: Jonathan Wei, Executive Director, The Telling Project
National Director: Max Rayneard, New York
Local producer: Caroline LeBlanc, firstname.lastname@example.org
The TELLING PROJECT is supported in part by a grant from The Bob Woodruff Foundation, National partners include The Veteran Artists Program and The Veterans History Project.
MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY FAMILY, PO BOX 5085, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO 87185
CIRCE OLSON WOESSNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, 505-504-6830.