NEA Arts: "The Art of Giving Back: The Blue Star Museums Initiative"
Helen Blake, daughter of a Marine Corps aviator, marvels at a crystal during a 2011 visit to the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville, Colorado, a participating Blue Star Museum. Photo by Molly Blake
"I think we truly are creating an enormous generation of museum-goers from this, and I know that for myself and the other families I've talked to, we go to the museums year-round, and we spend money on them because of our experience with Blue Star Museums over the summer. So I think not only is it karmically good for the museums, but it's actually good for their business as well, and that's a good thing." --- Kathy Roth-Douquet, founder/CEO Blue Star Families
Sometimes the summertime blues aren't a bad thing---that is if the "blues" you're referring to are the more than 1,800 Blue Star Museums (BSM)! In our final story in the print edition of the new NEA Arts, "The Art of Giving Back: The Blue Star Museums Initiative," Rebecca Gross takes a look at the Blue Star Museums program---a three-year-old partnership among the NEA, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums of every kind---that offers free admission for all active-duty military personnel and their families throughout the summer. You can also browse our other features including stories on the arts therapy program at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Hospital, and on-line features such as our conversation with Don R. Schol, a Vietnam veteran and visual artist who has used his artwork to grapple with the wounds of war.
(p.s. Check out the Blue Star Museums blog to learn more about participating museums---like the Cherokee Heritage Center, the Edward Gorey House, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, to name a few. And each Friday, check in with a Blue Star Museums visitor, such as college sophomore and self-described "Air Force brat" Garrett Hoppin who fell in love with museums through the program though he initially "was not a fan of having to take time out of my summer schedule to go to museums.")