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NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman and Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet Congratulate More Than 1,500 Blue Star Museums Nationwide as the Summer Program Concludes

Washington, DC -- This Labor Day weekend, more than 1,500 museums nationwide offered a final 'thank you' to military families through the Blue Star Museums program, which concluded on September 5. Blue Star Museums is a national partnership among Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts, and museums across the country that offers free admission to active duty military personnel and their families between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families.

Blue Star Museums first launched in the summer of 2010 as a way for museums to offer their appreciation to military families and enable them to enjoy the nation's cultural heritage. Currently, there are more than one million active duty military in the United States, and an estimated 900,000 children whose parents have served in multiple deployments. In the summer of 2011, 1,526 Blue Star Museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa took part in the initiative, including 744 new museums this year. Blue Star Museums will return next summer.

"For military families -- who relocate often -- Blue Star Museums is one small way to connect them with the community and offer a positive experience they can enjoy all summer long," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.

"Arts are the unifying experience of what it means to be an American; they tie us to the normal experience of our country," said Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet. "We are proud to see so many museums enabling our military families to take advantage of our cultural resources."

National service organizations, including the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Children's Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers supported the recruitment effort to increase the number of Blue Star Museums.

The 2011 roster of participating Blue Star Museums reflected the breadth of cultural institutions in the United States, from titans like the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, to intimate historical sites like the Carroll County Farm Museum in Maryland. Other Blue Star Museums ranged from sublime (the Chicago Botanic Garden) to the unusual (DeBence Antique Music World). More than one hundred and thirty children's museums and science centers took part as well. Essays by museum-going military families, interviews with curators, and other summer exploits were chronicled in the Blue Star Blog, archived here, along with a complete list of museums that participated in 2011 Blue Star Museums program.

About Blue Star Families

Blue Star Families is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserve, with a mission to support, connect and empower military families. In addition to morale and empowerment programs, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life and works to make military life more sustainable. Membership includes military spouses, children and parents as well as service members, veterans and civilians. To learn more about Blue Star Families, visit www.bluestarfam.org.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov