Blue Star Museums: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Blue Star Museums?
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families each summer. The program begins on Armed Forces Day in mid-May and ends on Labor Day at the beginning of September.
Typically, more than 2,000 museums across America participate in Blue Star Museums each summer. These include children's museums, art museums, history and science museums, zoos, and nature centers. You can find participating museums at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.
Who is eligible for free museum admission through Blue Star Museums?
The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military–Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard–including Reservists, National Guardsman (regardless of status), U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum. If you are a retiree or veteran, please reach out to the museum you plan to visit directly; many times they offer reduced or special rates for our retiree or veteran population.
How many military personnel and/or family members are allowed in free per visit?
The military ID holder and up to five family members. The military ID holder can be either active duty service member or other dependent family member with the appropriate ID card. The active duty member does not have to be present for family members to use the program. Just bring your DD Form 1173 ID Card, or DD Form 1173-1 ID Card, for active duty military 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.
What if my spouse is not deployed, but cannot come to the museum with the family. Can my family and I still participate?
Yes, your family can still participate, as the active duty member does not have to be present to use the program. Just bring your DD Form 1173 ID Card, or DD Form 1173-1 ID Card, for active duty military 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 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. Blue Star Museums is an effort to improve the quality of life for active duty military families, especially focusing on the approximately two million children who have had at least one parent deployed since 2001. Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration. This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together. If you are a retiree or veteran, please reach out to the museum you plan to visit directly; many museums offer reduced or special rates for the retiree or veteran population.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 museums across America. 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. 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, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.