NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman and Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet Congratulate More Than 1,800 Blue Star Museums Nationwide as the Summer Program Concludes

Washington, DC - Blue Star Museums closed out its third year with more than 1,800 museums offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Blue Star Museums is a national partnership among Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts, and museums across the country. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families.

Blue Star Museums first launched in the summer of 2010 as a way for museums to offer their appreciation to military families and enable them to enjoy the nation's cultural heritage. Currently, there are more than one million active duty military in the United States, and an estimated 900,000 children whose parents have served in multiple deployments. Blue Star Museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa took part in the initiative, including 627 new museums this year. This summer's 1,882 participating museums are more than triple the 600 museums that launched Blue Star Museums in the summer of 2010. 

"Blue Star Museums is a way for the arts community to say 'thank you' to our military families, and forge stronger connections as well," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "We are also grateful to the record-breaking number of museums that opened their doors to military families this summer."   

"As we close a phenomenal third consecutive year of the Blue Star Museums program, we are again thrilled to 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 military families had an unparalleled opportunity to visit some of the country's finest museums for free.  We look forward to a 2013 program that will build on the first three years of success."    

National service organizations, including 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 supported the recruitment effort to increase the number of Blue Star Museums. 

Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and children's museums. Museums that joined the Blue Star Museum honor roll this year reflect that diversity, from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, Arizona, to the Miami Science Museum in Florida, the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar in Richmond, Virginia, and the Sacramento Children's Museum in California. The last museum to join in 2012 was The Ohio State University Urban Arts Space, a community-based arts lab that is also part of the revitalization of downtown Columbus.   

Highlights from this summer can be found in the Blue Star Blog, which presented essays by museum-going military families, interviews with curators, and other summer exploits, along with a complete list of museums that participated in 2012 Blue Star Museums. 

Blue Star Museums 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. The arts and the military is the focus of the latest edition of NEA Arts, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Arts, available at

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

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


Sally Gifford