PIO Training and the Museum of Missouri Military History

I always dread my first night when I travel out of town.  Inevitably, I tend to only get a couple of hours sleep because I wake up wide-eyed at 3:30 AM!!!!  So, needless to say, today will get a bit long by about 2:00 PM this afternoon.

Folks that I’ve worked with for many years have been asking me why, with my past experience and skills, am I taking the “Basic Public Information Officer Training” class – again.  As I explained to them there are a few reasons I’m back again.  First, as a leader, I consider myself a life-long learner.  Second, as it’s been a while since I first took this class, things change and I expect to refresh my knowledge on various aspects of emergency management, business continuity, and leadership including that of a Public Information Officer.  Third, while I speak publicly on an almost weekly basis, and in my past corporate positions and external community work, I’ve often worked with various news media, it’s been over a year since I’ve had direct interaction with news media and I wanted to take some time a refresh my skills.

PIO Training

Today in class we started out reviewing the News Release we wrote yesterday evening.  The remainder of the morning was spent in further discussion about media briefings and then working through a large group (full class) role playing exercise of planning and conducting a news briefing.

In the afternoon, each of us had the opportunity to participate in a simulated interview with a “local news reporter”.  Having the interview videotaped added an additional layer of stress to the exercise.  Tomorrow morning the fun REALLY starts when as a class we get to see the taped interviews and instructor critiques.  Seeing yourself on video tape is always a little unnerving, but it really is a terrific (positive) learning tool.

Missouri National Guard Museum

What a treasure I came across on this trip.  And how appropriate that I’m here on the anniversary of “D-Day”.

If you’ve read previous posts of my blog back in March 2012, you’ll remember I taught a class in Topeka, Kansas and the class was held in the Kansas National Guard Museum.  When I was there, I learned each state, including Missouri (much to my surprise), has a National Guard Museum.  To make matters and more surprising Missouri’s National Guard Museum is located about 500 yards or less from where I’ve been coming for the past 12 years for meetings and training!  Unfortunately, the museum is not well publicized.  I hope readers like you will help spread the word about these great military museums.

Located on the Ike Skelton Training Center in Jefferson City, Missouri, this museum houses exhibits beginning from 1808 which was the activation date of the Missouri Militia.  Exhibits continue from the War of 1812 to Desert Storm.  “Thomas Hall” as the building was referred to, houses the collection and was built in the 1920s and used as a self-contained dormitory for prisoners working the dairy farm at the Missouri State Penitentiary Farm #3.  I had the pleasure of meeting the Museum Durator Mr. Charles Machon and a University of Missouri Intern, Mr. Drew Alexander, who is working at the museum.  Mr. Machon has had responsibility for the museum and its growth for the past 13 years.  Visitors will be very pleased as they visit and see the various displays on exhibit.

While one of my fellow students and I were at the museum, we were treated to a personal “behind the scenes” tour of the museum by Mrrs. Machon and Alexander.  We were able to see their research area in addition to their work area were items are worked on and repaired.  While the military items we saw are certainly amazing, we also saw a very old wooden file cabinet that dated back to 1886.  When the cabinet was rescued out of storage, it had one drawer in it that contained the Civil War personnel files of Mr. John Hutchison.  The files are still in the museum.  What a beautiful cabinet.  I’ve included a picture in the following slide show.

When Mr. Machon learned I was in the emergency management field, he was very kind and presented me with a copy of a publication titled “Missouri National Guard – The Great Flood of ‘93” that covers the Guards response to the great flood we experienced back in 1993.  I was in my early years of my career at that point and learned so much during that disaster.  I am looking forward to reading this book.

For more information about the museum and to be a friend of the museum on Facebook, click on the following two links:

Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau

Facebook – Museum of Missouri Military History

And let me leave you with a slideshow of what I saw at the Missouri National Guard Museum.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tomorrow is our final class day.  I’ll write a blog tomorrow evening to close out this trip.  I hope you’ll come back then.

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