Brief History of CMPCE

The Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience was founded by returned Peace Corps volunteers in 1999 in Portland, Oregon.  As a 501(c)(3) private, non-profit organization, the Committee has an established record of artifact acquisition, professional exhibitions and modest fundraising.

The Committee expanded its focus to the national level in 2016 during Peace Corps’ 55th Anniversary.  Twelve dedicated returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) from across the country stepped forward to comprise a core planning group.

The Committee dramatically increased its activities in 2017 with a planning retreat in Denver preceding the annual Peace Corps Connect conference.  Momentum built when Committee members met face-to-face for the first time and reconfirmed their commitment to building a museum, both online and physical.  

They formulated four strategic initiatives – Operations, Collections, Fundraising, Technology – which provide the road map for activities in 2018.  Goals for the year cover every aspect of a museum start-up and range from designing a new logo and website to finding a secure and stable environment for existing artifacts to launching virtual exhibits to establishing a Board of Directors and securing paid staff.

Paramount is the need to raise funds.  In the final five months of 2017 fundraising efforts got underway.  Revenue from donations increased four-fold and the number of donors grew by a factor of ten, including seven Charter Members ($1,000) and 26 First Friends ($100).

The Strategic Plan outlines the steps to
    •    broaden the Museum audience
    •    increase use of social media
    •    design online exhibits
    •    raise money

At the same time the Committee acquires artifacts and associated stories, it seeks a site for the physical museum.
The focus in early 2018 is to secure $250,000 from foundations, corporations and individual donors for start-up costs to hire professional staff and license digital content management technology.


Winter 1999 -  Discussions among members of the Columbia River Peace Corps Association focused on establishing a Peace Corps museum.  An organizing committee was formed, leading to the Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience.

2000 - Committee was incorporated as an Oregon Nonprofit Corporation

January 2000 - First business grant ($750 ) from Burdick/Burn Art Resource Inc.

March 2000 - Tax-exempt status as 501(c)(3) private, non-profit was granted in Oregon

March 2001 - “Artifacts and Anecdotes: Celebrating Forty Years of Peace Corps Service,” first exhibit opened at Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, Portland, Oregon

Winter 2002 - First technical assistance grant ($1200) to support training received from Portland Metro Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC)

Spring 2002 - Board development.  Training conducted by Sam Shogren, museum specialist

September 2002 - Bill Stein, President CMPCE attended National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) conference celebrating Peace Corps 40th Anniversary, Washington, D.C.

March 2003 - Lent artifacts to the John F. Kennedy exhibit at the I. M. Pei German History Museum, Bonn, Germany

June-August 2003 - “The Peace Corps Experience: Celebrations, Events and Games,” second exhibit.  Collins Gallery, Multnomah County Main Library, Portland, Oregon

July 2003 - Hosted reception during NPCA Group Leaders conference, Portland, Oregon

July 2005 - “The Peace Corps Experience: Bringing the World Home,” third exhibit.  Art Institute of Portland  

2006 – Discussed Museum project with participants at Peace Corps/NPCA open house at Portland State University

June 16, 2007 - Participated with exhibit and table space at the Day of the African Child.  World Forestry Center, Portland, Oregon.
2008/09 - Exhibited artifacts, gave presentations in collaboration with the International School, Beaverton, Oregon

March-June 2011 - “50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps,” fourth exhibit with workshops.  Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon  

2013 - Grant ($16,000) from Oregon City Chamber of Commerce

2014 - Various exhibits and workshops, including drum making and Satori Men’s Chorus featuring Men Singing Peace.   Clackamas Community College, Portland Community College, Clark College, and two libraries in southwest Washington

January-July 2015 - Panels and banners from the “50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps” exhibit became centerpiece at the Dayton International Peace Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

January-May 2016 - Panels and banners from the “50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps” exhibited at Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio

March 19, 2016 - History of CMPCE, its exhibits and vision presented to NPCA Group Leaders from Pacific Northwest region. Portland Community College. Attendees included Glenn Blumhorst, NPCA President, and Patricia Wand, NPCA Board Director Emerita

September 2016 - Nicola Dino, CMPCE President, attended Peace Corps Connect Conference marking 55th Anniversary of Peace Corps.  Convened first national CMPCE meeting.   Presented at NPCA Group Leaders Forum and sponsored an exhibit table.  George Washington University, Washington DC.

September 22, 2019 - Kennedy Reach exhibit. 

January 23-May 23, 2021- Host exhibition, Peace Corps 60th anniversary celebration.  American University, Katzen Art Center, Washington, DC.

Annual Planning Retreats - all members of CMPCE.  August 2017, Denver, Colorado, July 2018, Portland, Oregon, July 2019, Austin Texas, June 2020, Seattle, Washington. 


Patricia A. Wand,
Colombia 1963-1965

Board President 2018-Present
Co-Chair 2017-Present

Nicola Dino,
Ecuador 1994-1997

Board Past President 2018-Present
Co-Chair 2017-
President/Secretary 2014-2017

Martin Kaplan,
Somali Republic 1962-1964

President 2003-2014

Mike Renning,
Niger 1995-1998

President 2002-2003

Bill Stein,
Niger 1990-1993

President 2000-2002







Committee Members

  • Peter Deekle, Iran, 1968-70, Board Secretary
  • Nicola Dino, Ecuador, 1993-97, Co-Chair, Board Past President
  • Michael Haviland, Colombia, 1962-64, Board Member
  • Judith Madden-Sturges, Peru, 1964-65
  • Debbie Manget, St. Lucia, 1978-79
  • Ron Myers, Malaysia, 1972-74, Board Member
  • John Rude, Eretria [Ethiopia], 1962-64, Board Vice President
  • Bill Saphir, Thailand, 1967-70, CMPCE Secretary, Board Member
  • Johan Severtson, Sierra Leone, 1964-66
  • Susan Severtson (In memoriam), Sierra Leone, 1964-66
  • Patricia Wand, Colombia, 1963-65, Board Co-Chair, Board President
  • Rachel Waterman, Dominican Republic, 1993-96


Additional Volunteers

Christine Wolf, Poland 1996-98– Marketing

Mark Standley, South Korea 1976-1979 – Marketing

Robyn (King) Filonczuk (Niger, 2009-11) – Collections

Alison Kahn, Benin 1976-1977 – Stories

Marla Bush, Chad 1968-1970 – Collections

Carolyn Baer, Burkino Faso 1993-1995 – Marketing

“We hope to build a world in which men and women may share more of the world’s bounties and less of its suffering, and in which nations will offer one another support and respect.”  
~  President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965.   Letter to Peace Corps Volunteers.