Today the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) announced the 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 active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2016.
The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move.
“The Grand Rapids Public Museum is proud to participate in Blue Star Museums this summer,” said Dale Robertson, President and CEO of the GRPM. “Programs like this make the GRPM more accessible to all.”
“The Blue Star Museums program is a fun, free activity for military families to enjoy during the summer months,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The program is also a great way for service member families to connect to their new communities, and it can provide a meaningful way for families to reconnect after deployment. The Blue Star Museums program is also a perfect way for the arts community to say ‘thank you’ to our service members and their families for the sacrifices they make on our behalf, every day.”
“Blue Star Museums has grown into a nationally recognized program that service members and their families look forward to each year,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy 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.”
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/bluestarmuseums.
All summer long, Blue Star Museums will share stories through social media. Follow Blue Star Museums on Twitter @NEAarts and @BlueStarFamily, #bluestarmuseums, on Facebook, and read the NEA Art Works blog for weekly stories on participating museums and exhibits.
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 Military Healing Arts Partnership; Great American Voices Military Base Tour; and Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour.
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 Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover, New Hampshire, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in Pacific Grove, California, the Rochester Museum & Science Center in Rochester, New York, and El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Leadership support for Blue Star Families programming and promotional materials has been provided by MetLife Foundation. The complete list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.