ODU Libraries Hosts National Exhibit Honoring American Military Women of Color « News @ ODU

By Joe Garvey

Old Dominion University Libraries is hosting a traveling exhibit that recognizes the contributions of American military women of color.

The Military Women’s Memorial (MWM), “The Color of Freedom: Honoring the Diversity of American Military Women,” is on display in the Gallery section of the Perry Library through September 10.

The MWM partnered with ODU’s Military Connection Center, Women & Gender Equity Center, and university libraries to bring the exhibit to campus.

“Libraries are very pleased to host this traveling exhibit,” said Stuart Frazer, ODU Assistant University Librarian. “A natural fit given the close relationship between the Hampton Roads area, ODU and the military, the exhibit will shed important light on the critical contributions women have made within the military and present voices little heard.”

The statewide tour, funded by Virginia Humanities, has already stopped at Virginia Tech, the Virginia Military Institute and the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond. It is scheduled to go on display at the US Army Women’s Museum at Fort Lee early next year. The Virginia stops serve as the kickoff to what the MWM is calling its national AppreSHEation tour.

Amy Poe, the organization’s collections manager, contacted ODU in the spring to bring the exhibit to campus.

“With the potential to reach current and future service members, as well as students who may not know much about women’s service to the nation, we thought ODU would be a great addition to our program as another major academic institution in the Commonwealth,” she said.

Although the exhibit could not be scheduled for the spring, Frazer and Kristal Kinloch-Taylor, director of the Military Connection Center, began discussing bringing the exhibit to ODU during the summer semester. fall, with the gallery space of the Perry Library as the venue. ODU and the MWM signed an agreement in July.

According to the MWM website, “The Color of Freedom” will feature an interactive exhibit that will include the stories of 21 military women of color “and highlight the impact these women have had while serving in various branches of the military. American”. In addition to content from the original “Color of Freedom” installed at the Military Women’s Memorial in March 2021, the exhibit at ODU incorporates QR codes that allow viewers to access a selection of oral history recordings .

“The contents of the exhibit align with unique resources held in special collections of libraries and university archives,” Frazer said. “For example, the Special Collections and University Archives hold records of the USS Vulcan, a Navy repair ship that served in World War II and was the first non-hospital Navy ship to accept women. officers. Thus, we hope that the exhibition will serve as an engaging entry point that leads our users to further avenues of exploration.”

A ceremonial opening of the exhibit is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on August 30 at the Perry Library. Speakers will include Timothy Hackman, Dean of University Libraries; Robert Clark, Director, Military Activities Liaison and Special Projects; Brianna Elum, director of the Women and Gender Equity Center at ODU; and Ret. Army Maj. Gen. Jan Edmunds, Chairman of the MWM Foundation Board.

The Military Women’s Memorial, located in Arlington National Cemetery, will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October. It honors and preserves the legacy of the 3 million women who have served in or with the armed forces since the Revolutionary War.

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