On Armed Forces Day (May 18th), one of my favorite programs at the National Endowment for the Arts began—Blue Star Museums. Now through Labor Day, more than 2,000 museums across the country will welcome active duty military personnel and their families free of charge.
Since the National Endowment for the Arts began this program in 2010, in partnership with Blue Star Families, we have been thrilled with the growing support of museums around the nation. Our collaboration with the Department of Defense helps us spread the word about Blue Star Museums throughout the military. The number of participating institutions continues to rise. And this year, we are deeply honored that First Lady Melania Trump and Second Lady Karen Pence have agreed to serve as honorary co-chairs for the 10th summer of Blue Star Museums.
What’s so wonderful about the success of Blue Star Museums is that it shows how deeply this nation cares about honoring our service members. Receiving free admission to a museum might seem simple enough. But it allows service members to enjoy a summer full of fascinating outings without financial worry. It tells them that the cultural community cares for them, and is ready to welcome them with open arms. It provides a momentary distraction from the stress and worry of deployment. And perhaps most special of all, it gives families a chance to simply be together as a family, to connect or reconnect, and create new memories. As the daughter of a career military officer, I know what a true a true gift time together can be.
We hope that this summer, you’ll join the two million military families who have taken advantage of this fabulous program. With participating museums in all 50 states, including historic homes, science centers, history museums, zoos, gardens, children’s museums, and more, there is truly something for everyone, no matter who you are or where you are.
I hope you’ll visit our Blue Star Museums map to find a participating museum near you!
Mary Anne Carter
Acting Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts