Major Brian Chatman family’s first visit to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts turned out to be impressive.
Chatman said, “We really appreciate you guys providing the food, the band is amazing and the kid’s zone, my daughter had a blast.”
Chatman, his wife Georgene, and their 16-month-old daughter Raelyn, were among the 423 people taking part in this year’s Military Open House. This is their first full month in Montgomery. They moved here in July from Los Angeles. Georgene Chatman said, “It’s introducing us to activities we can do throughout the day as a family and explore with other military families. It’s also introduced us to culture and art. This has been great.”
Like the Chatmans, many other military men and women took advantage of what this family centered event had to offer. During this two hour period, they got to take a personal tour of the Museum’s exhibits, dress up in costumes and take pictures at a photo booth, and get their hands dirty during clay pottery and paper quilt-making activities. Chatman said, “It’s a great introduction to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.” His wife Georgene added, “It helps us get connected with other military families.”
Not all members of the armed forces are active duty, some are reservists or retired like James Simpson. We found Simpson, his wife Cynthia, and son Desmond sharing family time doing an art project together. James Simpson said, “Not only do I get to take my family to a quality event, I also get to be around comrades, and sometimes I get to run into people from Maxwell Air Force Base that I was stationed with and haven’t seen in a long time.” Cynthia Simpson said, “It keeps our family connected. It helps us appreciate each other and enjoy this special time together. Their son, Desmond Simpson said, “It’s just fun to me.”
We found other guests like Brigadier General Robert Thomas bonding with colleagues while dining on a meal catered by Wintzell’s Oyster House. This is his third year bringing his family. Brigadier General Thomas said, “I think it allows the men and women at the base to feel like a part of the community.”
The fun doesn’t stop with the activities and food. Music filled the air in the Lowder Gallery with tunes being belted out by the voices of members of the LoFiLoungers band. Many said this helped end their evening on a good note.
Brigadier General Thomas said, “My favorite part is looking at the paintings with my kids and discussing what is their favorite painting. I ask them ‘what do you like about this one’ and I think it’s a fun memory for them.”
This was the 19th year for the MMFA’s Military Open House. We look forward to saluting the Chatman, Simpson, and Thomas families for their dedication and service to our country again next summer.
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
View highlights of this year’s Military Open House at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXXGVH_41T4&feature=youtu.be.