Gayle Vaughn-Wiles, President’s Introduction

COVID 19 has changed the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) ‘modus operandi’ for the annual meeting normally conducted at the DoDDS Reunion. We have a very special Slide Presentation that will give the highlights of the work performed by the volunteer Board of Directors since the last reunion. As the Pointer Sisters would say in that oldie but goodie, “I’m So Excited”! You may ask, why are you so excited? I am so excited because what you will see and read following this introduction, will amaze you!

Reflecting on the cause for excitement, you must remember Dr. Thomas Townsend Drysdale had a vision in 1989 to preserve our history and develop our legacy. It was his desire for others to take up the unfinished task of preserving our priceless legacies.

As I continue to reflect, I am passionate about the progress that has been made by this exemplary board and staff. You will be impressed with the floor plans of the new AOSHS Museum and Archives. What an accomplishment. You will get excited about the Drysdale Gallery and the Muehring Digital Studio. You will definitely be astonished by our accomplishments.

A few years ago, the Department of Defense Educational Activity (DoDEA) partnered with us in order to support our combined mission. We were able to make these advancements because of this partnership as well as all of the faithful members who annually make substantial donations for operational support. The informative Financial Report will reveal our current status.

You will be pleased to see how the Memorial Program has developed and various Commemorative Tiles that are displayed in the office. A virtual program will be forthcoming and it will incorporate many of the same concepts on a different platform.

Membership in AOSHS is the backbone of our organization. We need you, your artifacts, and your financial donations. In order to continue our efforts, it is essential that our members and others continue to provide generous support. As you view this presentation, you will surely comprehend the root cause for my passion and excitement! You will also better understand the importance of AOSHS to continue our mission.

Front exterior of AOSHS museum and archives building
View of the new AOSHS exterior that combines both 704 and 708 W. Douglas into one.
Close up of the AOSHS seal on the exterior of the building.
AOSHS Museum and Archives sign on exterior in daytime.
New AOSHS Museum and Archives sign on exterior in daytime.
AOSHS museum and archives sign at night
New AOSHS Museum and Archives sign on exterior at night with ‘ghost’ image of seal.
Original floorplan
Floorplan of the original AOSHS office at 704 W. Douglas (right side). The entire building is owned by AOSHS and the 708 W. Douglas (left side) was rented out for income.
Renovated floorplan showing combined 704 and 708 buildings
The AOSHS Board determined that the Society needed to establish an onsite museum and additional area for the increasing archival collections. The two sides of the building were combined and connected through a doorway that passes by the new Muehring Digital Studio. Please look closely at the labels for each room/area and refer back to this as you move through the following photographs of the interiors.
Proposed furniture and display plan for Reception and Drysdale Gallery
Proposed floorplan of Reception and Drysdale Gallery (to be confirmed by board committee at a later date)
3D rendering of proposed furniture and display floorplan
3D rendering of proposed Reception and Drysdale Gallery floorplan (to be confirmed by board committee at a later date)
Front door entrance
Front door entrance to 704 W. Douglas, AOSHS Museum and Archives
Front reception area
Front office and reception to AOSHS Museum and Archives
Drysdale Gallery
Drysdale Gallery space before locations of display and artifacts complete
Archives in the back of 704 of the AOSHS archives
Part of the back archives in 704
Breakroom between 704 and 708
Breakroom between 704 side with Drysdale Gallery and connection to 708 passageway past Digital Studio
Digital studio
Digital Studio from doorway
Archives in the 708 side of AOSHS archives
Part of the archives in 708
Yearbook Library in 708
Looking down walkway with Yearbook Library on both sides in 708

AOSHS Board Accomplishments

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) provided financial support to American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) to ensure the preservation of the history of the school systems that have educated the overseas children of American military service members and DOD civilians for more than seventy years.

 

  • Grand Opening of the museum that was scheduled for September 24, 2020 has been postponed due to the pandemic
  • Over $4000 was collected for the annual scholarships and three scholarships were awarded this year
  • Over 2200 yearbooks have been digitized and are available on the website
  • More than 2000 items have been photographed for inclusion on the website and to document our artifacts
  • Our archives now contain over 25,000 items
  • Business Plan of AOSHS is still in draft form and will be finalized when the marketing plan is complete
  • Designed and implemented new logo to commemorate 30th anniversary
  • An internal audit of the financial records was completed in September 2019 and will be done each year
  • New website updated regularly and has an average of 4000 hits per month with the majority being viewing yearbooks
  • The plan for digitizing the memorial program has been developed and is ready for implementation
  • The construction and reconfiguration of the Wichita office has been completed
  • Newly retired DoDDS educators will be given a one year membership to AOSHS to encourage them to become permanent members
  • The Historical Books were revised including many updates on opening and closing dates for schools
  • CafePress is online so members can purchase AOSHS merchandise
  • Flame, Presidential and Volunteers Awards were approved and will be presented at the Grand Opening

Financial Report

AOSHS Financial Status as of 30 June 2020

AOSHS Assets (Not including building and furnishings) $478,144.35
Reimbursable Support $153,725.31
NON-FENCED ASSETS (Available for operations and unpaid obligations) $324,419.04
Unpaid Obligations (Museum furniture and building façade) $14,000.00
NON-FENCED ASSETS AFTER OBLIGATIONS ARE PAID $310,419.04
Projected expenses to 12/31/2020 (Office Manager & 20% of operations) $26,500.00
PROJECTED NON-FENCED ASSETS AS OF 12/31/2020 $283,919.09

NOTE: Physical Assets (Buildings 704 and 708) estimated value of $188,000.

A note on Reimbursable Support: The American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) collects, displays, and preserves Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) artifacts, memorabilia and additional materials on behalf of DoDEA. This includes operating and contract costs to archive and digitize the DoDEA portion of the inventory in the current AOSHS collection. AOSHS submits an invoice annually to DoDEA for the cost of reimbursable support done on behalf of  DoDEA.  Qualifying expenses are reviewed and approved by DoDEA. This revenue generated for reimbursable support performed enables AOSHS to provide a much needed and ongoing contribution to the legacy of schools, students, and employees who have served the nation around the globe. 

Major AOSHS initiatives/accomplishments

  • Organizing and cataloging more than 50,000 items (largely DoDEA artifacts, memorabilia and additional materials) in the AOSHS archives;
  • Ongoing collection, display, and preservation of DoDEA artifacts, memorabilia and additional materials;
  • Scanning and placing online more than 2,000 yearbooks with another 1,000 yearbooks soon to be added;
  • Enhancements to the AOSHS public facing web presence to improve services and access;
  • Initiated a project to place digital photographs of all artifacts and memorabilia online; and
  • Transitioned from a storage facility to a museum and archive where we are preserving and displaying collections/exhibits of memorabilia from schools and offices to facilitate study and enjoyment of these artifacts including commemorations.

AOSHS Costs

  • Ongoing collection, cataloging, display, and preservation of DoDEA artifacts, memorabilia and additional materials;
  • Updated building façade;
  • Three contractors to support collection, archiving, and digitization;
  • Operating costs and one employee (Office Manager);
  • Membership and fund raising (donations); and
  • Communication and marketing.

Increase Membership and Increase Donations

To continue the work AOSHS is doing, we need more members and we need more donations.  Please contribute to the goals of AOSHS to preserve the history of DoD schools around the world.  Please see the AOSHS website at www.aoshs.org.

Memorial Program

AOSHS is dedicated to preserving history for American overseas schools. Your donation to establish a Memorial Fund will allow individual(s) who had or have an impact on the American overseas school history to continue impacting generations to come.

Currently only $25.00 is needed to open a Memorial Fund to commemorate an individual(s) or group. It remains open for six (6) months to receive donations for a specific Fund. After this timeframe, you will be contacted to discuss the options of a Commemorative Tile that corresponds to the monetary amount in the Fund.

Our Commemorative Tiles are currently available and physically located in the AOSHS’s archival office as an in-person remembrance. These Tiles are shown in the photos that follow. All Tiles can be purchased using the monies from any Memorial Fund or purchased directly by any individual or group.

The following are the different price levels to buy while they are still available.

  • 4” x 8” Red Quarry Tiles $100 (13 available as of July 23, 2020)
  • 8” x 8” Beige Quarry Tiles $250 (16 available as of July 23, 2020)
  • 8” x 8” Polished Granite Tiles $500 (10 available as of July 23, 2020)
  • 12” x 12” Polished Granite Tiles (no longer available)
  • 18” x 18” Polished Granite Tiles $2,500 (1 left as of July 23, 2020)

Eventually, there will be no more space for these Tiles. Soon AOSHS will be offering an online Memorial Program that will keep legacies alive in our virtual world. The specifics about this new digital program will be announced very soon.

Memorial tiles on both sides of front entrance
Large, polished granite memorial tiles hanging on wall
Medium, polished granite memorial tiles hanging on wall
Medium, beige quarry memorial tiles and small, red quarry memorial tiles
Medium, beige quarry memorial tiles hanging on wall
Small, red quarry memorial tiles hanging on wall

Membership Information

  • Data shows a small increase in membership.
  • Need your assistance to continue the mission of the organization.
  • Easy to become a member or renew – visit the website for information. org
  • Consider donating to help financially support AOSHS and to send artifacts for the museum.
  • Share the opportunity with friends, acquaintances and family to spread the news.

Membership Data

2019 2020
Regular members 343 369
Life members 543 535
Complimentary* 19
Total members 886 923

* Complimentary memberships are offered to those who contribute artifacts or memorabilia to the museum.

Additional narrative:

Membership in AOSHS has been fairly steady over the past year.  Currently there are 923 individuals who have joined the organization (only 369 of which are paying yearly dues since 543 are life members).   AOSHS is a non-profit organization that is supported by memberships and donations from folks around the world.  From the start-up of the organization, Dr. Tom Drysdale had a vision of keeping the memory of overseas education of military dependents alive and able to be shared.  We have a tremendous story to be told!  This past year has been an inspiration due to the new virtual access of thousands of archived pieces of memorabilia, yearbooks, and documents.  In addition, the upcoming museum grand opening will take place in the near future in Wichita, Kansas.  Never before has there been so much to be proud of and so much to share.

Which brings us to our plea… WE NEED YOUR HELP!  If you are a new member, thanks so much for joining us and if you have renewed your membership, that is certainly appreciated.  But now it is time to promote memberships and needed donations to friends, acquaintances, family, and others who may be interested.  As members, you know “the story” and you are considered an integral part of this organization.  Since we are all volunteers, your participation is critical for spreading the word and encouraging others to become members and explore the many archived items.  Membership fees and especially donations (financial and artifacts) are required to ensure the AOSHS organization succeeds and thrives.  Help us to “TELL THE STORY” and keep our history alive.

Thanks for your continued support!

Closing Remarks

Gayle Vaughn-Wiles, Outgoing AOSHS President

In closing, I am sure you were impressed with the progress made by the AOSHS Board of Directors. The fundamental basis for our progress is totally dependent on the financial support of our membership and the partnership with DoDEA. Your donations have been used wisely and we will continue to do so as we accomplish our goals. The bottom line is we need your financial support. I am closing out my term as the President of the Board of Directors. I am excited about the progress! When I started, we had just paid the balance of our real estate properties. As I pass the gavel to the new AOSHS President, Linda Connelly, those real estate properties have been transformed into a museum and archives. With this transition, Linda will finalize the plans and arrangements for the Grand Opening of the AOSHS Museum and Archives.

Gayle Vaughn-Wiles Letter to Members

Linda Connelly, Incoming AOSHS President

AOSHS has come a long way since Gayle Vaughn-Wiles assumed the Presidency. Our entire organization is indebted for her perseverance and leadership. And now we look forward. The AOSHS Museum and Archives is scheduled to celebrate its official opening on Thursday, 15 April 2021. The opening is the culmination and the generosity of so many DoDDS educators located all over the globe, who have shared their stories, mementos, yearbooks, and yes…funding…to make this possible. DoDEA’s partnership has been both supportive and instrumental in helping us to reach this milestone. It is our hope that the current health conditions that are so troubling, will be mitigated in time for many of you to visit YOUR museum in Wichita. Thank you for your service and continued support of AOSHS! We have so much to celebrate…and so much yet to accomplish. I look forward to serving you as the new AOSHS President.

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