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Blue Star Families Joins Forces with the First Lady, Dr. Biden and 1,600 American Museums to Give Free Admission to Military Families

Through Blue Star Museums, museums across America will invite military personnel and their families to visit their museums to participate in the arts free of charge all summer long

Blue Star Museums launch event

Blue Star Museums launch event

At the Blue Star Museums launch event, 5/22/12 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From L-R: A. Dennis White, CEO and President, MetLife Foundation; Gunnery Sergeant Mark Butler, USMC Public Affairs, New York City; Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO, Blue Star Families; Creel Brown, Captain, U.S. Army and daughter Riley; NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. Photo...

NEW YORK, NY - Today, Blue Star Families 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 1,600 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel, including active Reserve and National Guard, and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2012. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families.

See the complete list of participating museums.

The launch of the program was announced today at a press event at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The event was hosted by Metropolitan Museum President Emily Rafferty, who was joined by Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, A. Dennis White, CEO and president of MetLife Foundation, local military families, and representatives from the more than 40 New York City museums participating in Blue Star Museums this summer. Following the event, the presenters escorted local families representing the Armed Forces on a tour of several galleries at the Metropolitan Museum, which has been a Blue Star Museum since the program began in 2010.

"We are honored to once again welcome U.S. service members and their families to the Metropolitan Museum," said Emily Rafferty, president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Museum is an American treasure, and we are grateful to share it with those who have given so much to our nation."

"Blue Star Museums is a great resource for our military families," said Brad Cooper, executive director of Joining Forces, a national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

"As we enter the third consecutive year of the Blue Star Museums program, we are happy provide an opportunity for our nation's service members and their families to connect with our national treasures," said Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet. "Through this distinctive collaboration between Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts and more than 1,600 museums across the United States, military families have an unparalleled opportunity to visit some of the country's finest museums for free."

"Through Blue Star Museums, the arts community is extending a special invitation to military families to enjoy over 1,600 museums this summer," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "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. Especially for families with limited time together, those on a limited budget, and ones that have to relocate frequently, Blue Star Museums offers an opportunity to enjoy one another and become more fully integrated into a community."

"MetLife Foundation is pleased to partner with Blue Star Families to increase access to the arts for our military families," said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. "Opening doors to the many rich and diverse cultural venues across the country is a wonderful way for us to say 'thank you' to our military families for their service and support."

This year, more than 1,600 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative, including more than 300 new museums this year. Museums are welcome to join Blue Star Museums throughout the summer. The 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. This year's Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and 70 children's museums. Among this year's new participants are the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar in Richmond, Virginia; the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, NM; the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland, Ohio; the Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco, California; the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas; and the World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

FOLLOW: Blue Star Museums is on Twitter at @NEAarts, hashtag #bluestarmuse. To learn more about the White House's Joining Forces initiative visit JoiningForces.gov and follow on Twitter @JoiningForces and on Facebook. Follow Blue Star Families on Twitter, @BlueStarFamily, and on Facebook.

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 1,600 museums across America. The program runs from Memorial Day, May 28, 2012 through Labor Day, September 3, 2012. The free admission program is available to active-duty military and their family members (military ID holder and up to five family members). Active duty military include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and active duty National Guard and active duty Reserve 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 out which museums are participating, visit www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums. The site includes a list of participating museums and a map to help with visit planning.

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

About Blue Star Families

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. In addition to morale and empowerment programs, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life and works to make military life more sustainable through programs and partnerships like Operation Honor Cards, MilKidz Club and Blue Star Museums. Membership includes military spouses, children and parents as well as service members, veterans and the civilians who strongly support them. 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.

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 Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience; Great American Voices Military Base Tour; and Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour.

Contact

Sally Gifford
202-682-5606
giffords@arts.gov