The Legacy of Sisterhood – Museum Update

in General News
Museum Update

We hope you have already heard about the exciting new Archives Museum project underway to celebrate AOII’s 125 anniversary. If not, we encourage you to watch the short video shared here to learn more about our summer announcement. Our quasquicentennial year officially comes to a close on January 2, 2023, and a few months later we will be opening the museum within our Fraternity International Headquarters in Brentwood, Tennessee. What a wonderful summer it has been for the Archives Museum Campaign. After many months of a silent fundraising launch, the public launch of the campaign happened during June’s Volunteer Summit and Sisterhood Retreat. The outpouring of support for this meaningful project has been enormous and is greatly appreciated.


To date, we have now reached commitments totaling $875,000, moving us even closer to our $1 million dollar goal!


Another highlight of our public launch was sharing the Gayle Fitzpatrick (Alpha Rho, Oregon State University) Matching Challenge. Gayle challenged sisters to support the campaign and offered a generous $50,000 match. The challenge exceeded all expectations with 55 sisters donating $71,604. Gayle was so thrilled with the results that she upped the challenge to match dollar for dollar generating $143,208 for the campaign. We thank Gayle for her challenge which motivated so many to give.

The museum design process is complete, and the building preparations will begin soon. During a recent visit to Brentwood, Allison Allgier (AOII International Historian and PIP), and Mariellen Sasseen (Director of Strategic Partnerships/Archivist) worked to remove all the existing museum artifacts and HQ artwork to catalog and organize. The walls and hallways are now bare – providing a clean slate for the work ahead. We are filled with anticipation for the renovation and new museum for our sisterhood.

Mariellen and Allison Carry Stella's Trunk
Allison Allgier and Mariellen Sasseen remove Stella’s Trunk from its previous display area to place it in safe keeping for a far more worthy exhibit for this archival treasure. This trunk dates back to 1914 when Stella became Grand Historian. Historical artifacts were stored inside, and the trunk traveled with Stella to AOII events or on her visits to chapters. The contents that will be on display in the new exhibit are the same items that were in the trunk at the time of Stella’s death.
Allison with Artifacts
Allison Allgier double-checks the list for the AOII Headquarters exhibit display case. This space will include items such as the black tin box that held the Fraternity’s early records such as the constitution and Alpha Chapter’s roll book. The larger book is the first Fraternity Roll Book, our record-keeping process long before the development of computer databases. AOII’s four Founders followed by the first initiate, Ann Richardson Hall, are the first names listed in this priceless book. The popular Past International President dresses seen in the background will be cleaned and prepared for their eventual placement inside a state-of-the-art dress display exhibit.
Allison with Cart
Preparation and organization are key to the success of our new museum project. This second smaller truck also held historical artifacts from the early 1900s and these framed images of our Founders and Past International Presidents came down to make way for an improved exhibit that will showcase our AOII leaders.































Next Steps in the Campaign

We are now pushing to the fundraising finish line with our goal to reach $1 million dollars by January 2023. Upcoming issues of To Dragma will feature stories about the museum’s progress. You can access a digital copy of the magazine here. AOII social media will have weekly posts featuring AOII history and Crystal Combs, IP has featured a series about the Archives Museum on her podcast. We will continue to keep the fundraising conversations going until we reach our goal. Please visit the link below to give to the campaign, or reach out to any campaign committee member with questions.


Please Join Us in Thanking Our Lead Donors

  • Gayle Fitzpatrick, Alpha Rho
  • Crystal Grafton Combs, Nu Beta
  • Carole Jones, Alpha Delta
  • Barbara Zipperian, Kappa Kappa
  • Mary Bryant, Delta Omega
  • Charlene Favre, Alpha Omicron
  • Lisa Niedenthal, Beta Phi
  • Terry Palmer, Phi Alpha
  • Sally Wagaman, Sigma Tau

Archives Museum Campaign Committee Members

  • Allison Allgier – Epsilon Omega – chair
  • Susan Bonifield, Nu Beta
  • Meagan Davies, Alpha Chi
  • Andrea Dill, Chi Psi
  • Nancy Hohmann, Phi
  • Lori Goede, Gamma Omicron
  • Linda Grandolfo, Nu Iota
  • Carole Jones, Alpha Delta
  • Lisa Niedenthal, Beta Phi
  • Terry Palmer, Phi Alpha
  • Mariellen Sasseen, Alpha Delta
  • Ashley Byrd, Delta Gamma Fraternity
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