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Blue Star Museums offers Free Admission to Military Families at 2,000+ Museums Nationwide

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Military man and his daugther looking at art at San Antonio Museum of Art.

SSgt. George J. Preen III USMC and his daughter Scarlett at the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas during the 2014 Blue Star Museums launch on May 21. Photo by JB Lyle/Parish Photography

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, DC – NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa and Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet announced the fifth annual launch of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s service members, including National Guard and Reserve, and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2014. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families. The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation's cultural heritage or learn more about their new communities after completing a military move. The complete list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums.

The launch of the program was announced today at a press event at the San Antonio Museum of Art in San Antonio, Texas. Katie Luber, the Kelso Director of the San Antonio Museum of Art, welcomed guests and distinguished speakers including Roth-Douquet, Shigekawa, local military families, and representatives from several San Antonio-area Blue Star Museums. Following the remarks, participants joined a tour, led by the museum’s Mellon Chief Curator/Halff Curator of American Art William Keyse Rudolph, of artworks on view in the American Art Gallery at the San Antonio Museum of Art, which has been a Blue Star Museum since 2011. 

“As we kick off our fifth year of Blue Star Museums, more museums than ever are part of this military appreciation program,” said Shigekawa. “Together with Blue Star Families and more than 2,000 museums, we are proud to help connect military families with the cultural resources in their communities.” 

“Blue Star Museums has grown into a nationally recognized program that service members and their families look forward to each year,” said Roth-Douquet. “It helps bring our local military and civilian communities together, and offers families fun and enriching activities in their home towns. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”

Group of military families, city officials, and government partnerships at San Antonio Museum of Art.

Blue Star Museums celebrates military families, joined here by Katie Luber of the San Antonio Museum of Art; Kathy Roth-Douquet of Blue Star Families; NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa; NCA member Maria Lopez De Leon; Judge Nelson Wolff; COL Gregory Maxton, U.S. Army South; and Felix Padron, Executive Director, City of San Antonio Department for Culture and Creative Development; and councilmen Mike Gallagher, Diego Bernal, and Ron Nirenberg for the national launch. Photo by JB Lyde/Parish Photography

This year, more than 2,000 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative. Museums are welcome to join Blue Star Museums throughout the summer. The effort to recruit museums has involved partnerships with the American Alliance 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. This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and dozens of children’s museums. Among this year’s new participants are the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia; The Thinkery children’s museum in Austin, Texas; the Mass Audubon Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, Massachusetts; and Henricus Historical Park in Chester, Virginia.

About Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. The program runs from Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 through Labor Day, September 1, 2014.

The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps - and up to five family members.  Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. For questions on particular exhibits or museums, please contact the museum directly. To find participating museums and plan your trip, visit arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums.

All summer long, Blue Star Museums will share stories through social media. Follow Blue Star Museums on Twitter @NEAarts and @BlueStarFamily, #BlueStarMuse, on Facebook, and read the NEA Art Works blog for weekly stories on participating museums and exhibits.

Museums that wish to participate in Blue Star Museums may contact bluestarmuseums@arts.gov, or Wendy Clark at 202-682-5451.

This is the latest NEA program to bring quality arts programs to the military, veterans, and their families. Other NEA programs for the military have included the NEA/Walter Reed Healing Arts Partnership, Great American Voices Military Base Tour, and Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour. 

About Blue Star Families

Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserve, dedicated to supporting, connecting, and empowering military families. With its partners, Blue Star Families hosts a robust array of morale and empowerment programs, including Books on Bases, Blue Star Museums, Operation Honor Corps, Blue Star Careers, and Operation Appreciation. Blue Star Families also works directly with the Department of Defense and senior members of local, state, and federal government to bring the most important military family issues to light. Working in concert with fellow nonprofits, community advocates, and public officials, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life and works to make military life more sustainable. Our worldwide membership includes military spouses, children, parents, and friends, 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.