FOR MAMF, NO LAZY DAYS OF SUMMER
By Allen Dale Olson, MAMF Secretary/Public Affairs
When the MAMF exhibit, “Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family,” closed on August 31, it had seen 17,116 visitors since opening on May 26 in the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. And that doesn’t include the members of the Albuquerque Museum Collaborative Council or all the elementary and middle school kids who attended summer science camps in the Nuclear Museum. There were 145 VIPs at the Opening Reception on May 30.
But the exhibit was more than an exhibit. There were book readings by Steve Sparks, R. Sam Baty, and J. Allen Whitt. Four Poets – Caroline LeBlanc, Circe Olson Woessner, Jacqueline Murray Loring, and Karen Bradberry entertained with touching and humorous excerpts from letters and messages about family life in the military.
The search for land continued in meetings with Albuquerque and state land officials and with contacts in towns along Old Route 66. Speaking of which, MAMF was represented in the Albuquerque International District Festival to sharing its “story of place” with a booth and a display of Operation Footlocker.
Twice MAMF Board Members Circe and Ole went out to the Jemez Pueblo, once to be part of a special high school graduation ceremony for Pueblo World War II Veterans whose schooling had been interrupted by the war. The other visit fulfilled a promise Circe had made a couple of years ago to get a flag pole for Mabel Sando, widow of a World War II Veteran. On August 10 the promise was fulfilled, and with help from American Legion Posts 69 and 75. Mabel received her new flagpole as members of her family and Jemez residents gathered for the installation.
The exhibit kept us busy right till the end. Early in August, Jim Harris, Director of the Lea County Historical Museum, came to look it over to start planning for when his Museum will put it up for two months this fall before sending it off to Los Alamos. During the last weekend, film maker Jill Bond showed her documentary “We Served Too,” the story of World War II Women Service Pilots and their struggle for official recognition. You can hear Iain Woessner’s podcast with Jill on the MAMF Tindeck Site.
That was the same week that the New Mexico State Department of Veterans Services agreed to a sponsoring partnership with MAMF for a September Wellness Conference to include a showing of the documentary “Brothers at War” with its producer, Jake Rademacher, who conducted a Resiliency Workshop for Active Duty, Veterans and their spouses.
Also this month, MAMF brought “Telling, Albuquerque” to the city. This is a series of plays performed by local Veterans and family members under the direction of a New York stage company to dramatize their experiences in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan Wars, as well as other aspects of military service. In addition to the Veterans in the cast, MAMF’s own social media manager, Iain, shared his experience as an Army Brat.
One of the last visitors to “Sacrifice & Service” was Justin Kuhel, a former Marine “Marching Across America” to raise funds for disabled Veterans. MAMF Board Member Ole was part of the city’s official welcoming party, and MAMF Executive Director Circe hosted him at the exhibit. Iain Woessner, MAMF Web Master, posted his interview with Justin on the MAMF Tindeck site.
Stay tuned for the next big MAMF event – a special Veterans Day ceremony at the International Balloon Museum on November 15. Caroline, Jacqueline, Circe and Karen will restage their very popular “4 Voices” program.
MAMF is currently designing its next exhibit—Schooling with Uncle Sam. An exhibit date has not been set, but hopefully it will be housed in MAMF’s permanent space.