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Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Finding a Home for My WAC Aunt's Materials
My family has long held a small collection of Auntie Dorothy's WAC documents and photos, plus a copy of the book she wrote as historian of her WAC unit.
My Sis and I wanted this collection to be in safe hands for the future, in a repository that can archive the documents and put her military service in context for future generations. The search was on.
Finding an Appropriate Repository
An online search of key terms "WAC museum" brought me to the website of the U.S. Army Women's Museum, located south of Richmond in Fort Lee, VA. As shown above, I located the "contact" page and there was specific information about how to proceed with a request to donate materials.
I sent a detailed email describing what my family has to donate, with background about my aunt's military experience. Of course I mentioned her Bronze Star Medal!
Preparing to Donate to the Museum
It didn't take long for the museum to respond. It is not accepting uniforms or medals (we have neither) but it would be delighted to accept documents and photographs in good condition.
The museum sent a four-page document formatted to help Sis and me provide biographical details and military details about my aunt. We filled in her rank, places she was stationed, campaigns supported by her WAC unit, and excerpts from a letter she wrote about having the opportunity to serve her country as the "woman behind the man behind the gun."
Finally, we listed the contents of the collection so the museum can see exactly what is being donated (see above). Of course everything was scanned at high resolution before the donation was made.
Long after Sis and I join our ancestors, Dorothy Schwartz's bio and WAC materials will be available to researchers because they're safely in the museum's archives!
Keeping Dorothy Schwartz's Memory Alive in the Museum
As is usual, the museum requested that we send the collection and a printout of the bio pages via a shipping company that can track every movement of the package. We packed it securely in a padded envelope, including a cover note detailing the contents, and sent it on Monday.
The museum told me it will confirm receipt as soon as the package arrives (just heard the shipment arrived safely). Soon afterward, Sis and I will receive a formal acknowledgement of our donation.
Best of all, we have the satisfaction of knowing we're keeping Dorothy Schwartz's memory alive among the WAC artifacts held by the US Army Women's Museum.
For more about finding a suitable home for ancestors' materials, please see my best-selling #Genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past.