Blue Star Museums Initiative Gives Active Duty Military And Their Families Free Tickets To Over 1,600 Museums

1,600 museums offer military families free tickets
Runs from Memorial Day 2012 (May 28th) through Labor Day 2012 (September 3rd)

Click logo above to see a state-by-state list of participating museums

More than 1,600 museums across the country will offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families this summer in a program that has more than doubled in size since 2010.

The expanded Blue Star Museums initiative was announced Tuesday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City where more than 40 museums are participating. The offer of free admission runs from Memorial Day until Labor Day at sites nationwide.

The program began in 2010 as a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Defense Department. It’s adding 300 new museums this year.

The participating sites include art museums, science centers, history museums, nature centers and about 70 children’s museums.

New participants include the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar in Richmond, Va., the New Mexico Museum of Space History, San Francisco’s Children’s Creativity Museum and the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo.

First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, also are helping to promote the effort this year through their Joining Forces initiative to support military families. It comes at an important time for military families and can be a way to welcome military families to new communities as they often relocate, said Navy Capt. Brad Cooper, executive director of Joining Forces.

“A large percentage of moves happen over the course of the summer,” often from one end of the country to the other, Cooper said. Opening access to museums “really just opens up the aperture of what families are able to do in their travels and their vacation time,” he said.

Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said it’s good for museums, too.

“This is both an opportunity to thank military families for their service and sacrifice, as well as a chance to create connections between museums and these families that will continue throughout the year,” he said in a statement.

Last week, the Interior Department announced it would give military families free access to every national park in the country with annual passes. The passes normally cost $80 and provide access to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.

Obama and Biden also are focused on expanding job opportunities for military spouses and improving military health services and education for military children.

About the Blue Star Museums Initiative:

What is Blue Star Museums?
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment of the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,600 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 28, through Labor Day, September 3, 2012.

Which museums are participating?
More than 1,600 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are participating in Blue Star Museums. These include children’s museums, fine art museums, history and science museums, and nature centers.

Who is eligible for free museum admission through Blue Star Museums?
The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard), National Guard and Reserve members and up to five family members. Please see the chart of the acceptable IDs (PDF).
How many military personnel and/or family members are allowed in for free per visit?

The military ID holder plus up to five family members.

How do you define a family member?
A family member of active duty military may include a spouse or child, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.

What if my spouse is deployed? Can my family and I still participate?
Yes, spouses of deployed military are eligible for Blue Star Museums. Just bring your DD Form 1173 ID Card, or DD Form 1173-1 ID Card, for active duty military family members.

How many military personnel and/or family members are allowed in for free per visit?
The military ID holder plus up to five family members.

What if my child is under the age of 10 and doesn’t yet have a military ID?
Children under the age of 10 without military ID are welcome to attend with their parents who either hold a Geneva Convention Common Access Card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID Card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID Card.

Does the Blue Star Museums program include admission for veterans and retirees? For unmarried partners? For parents with a child currently serving on active duty, or for those who have lost a child on active duty?
Admission for these individuals is not included in the scope of this program, unless they are the bearer of a Geneva Convention Common Access Card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID Card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card.

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment of the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,600 museums across America to offer free admission to families with a member serving during this time of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, especially focusing on the approximately 1 million children who have had at least one parent deployed. This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together.

Will I receive free entry to special, fee-based exhibits?
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.

Is there a limit on the number of Blue Star Museums I can visit this summer?
No, there is no limit on the number of participating museums that eligible parties can visit.

If a museum already offers free admission, can it still participate in Blue Star Museums?
Museums with free admission are also welcome to join the Blue Star Museums list on the NEA website.

How can museums join the Blue Star Museums program? 
Museums that wish to participate in Blue Star Museums may contact [email protected], or Wendy Clark at 202-682-5451.

Who are the national partners on 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 1,600 museums across America. Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserve, with a mission to support, connect and empower military families. To learn more about Blue Star Families, please visit BlueStarFam.org.

TRhe effort to recruit museums has involved the partnership efforts of 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.

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