Museums Nationwide Provide Free Admission to Military Families This Summer

Blue Star Museums program will run May 18 – September 2, 2024
A mother and her two children look at a colorful indoor art exhibit. One of the children is using her phone to take a photo

Military families engaged in art-making activities and explored the Dayton Art Institute during a Blue Star Museums event on May 31, 2023 to celebrate the launch of the free summer admission program. Photo credit: Carrs & Co Photography House

Washington, DC—This summer, active-duty military families can once again visit a variety of museums nationwide for free as part of Blue Star Museums, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Blue Star Families (BSF), in collaboration with the Department of Defense. The 2024 program begins on Saturday, May 18, 2024, Armed Forces Day, and continues through Monday, September 2, 2024, Labor Day. Participating museums can be found in all 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additional information and a complete list of participating museums is available at

“We are grateful to all of the museums that have joined this summer’s Blue Star Museums program and we hope military families will take this opportunity to create meaningful, lifelong memories,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Whether you are traveling this summer, getting to know a new duty location, or exploring what your community has to offer, Blue Star Museums is a wonderful opportunity to create connection and find inspiration.”

"Military families love Blue Star Museums, and we couldn’t run this program without the National Endowment for the Arts and the museums across the nation who show they care by participating,” said Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Access to museums enriches military families, creates wonderful family memories, and helps us feel connected to our communities so that we can thrive and do the hard job we have to do for the country. I am delighted for us to launch the 14th year of this very special program."

Each year, a wide variety of museums take part, from history, art, and children’s museums to botanical gardens, planetariums, and zoos, as well as small museums that highlight the contributions of a local hero or an invention unique to a region. Participants this year include the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa; Mississippi Museum of Art; New Hampshire Telephone Museum; the Iowa Children's Museum; Texas Science and Natural History Museum; the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York; Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati; and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. A complete listing of all participating museums is available on the map on 

Museums can join the Blue Star Museums program all summer long and the map will be updated regularly. Military families are encouraged to check the map for museums in their community or during summer travels.

This free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States military—Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force, members of the Reserves, National Guard, 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), DD Form 1173-1 ID card or the Next Generation Uniformed Services (Real) ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.

A father plays with his laughing daughter who is swinging on a giant hammock, which is an interactive exhibit at a children's museum

Families explored the interactive exhibits at the New Children’s Museum in San Diego during a 2022 Blue Star Museums event to celebrate the free summer admission program for military families. Photo by Brandon Colbert Photography

We rely on important partners across the nation to help us spread the word about the program, such as:
   National Assembly of State Art Agencies
   American Alliance of Museums
   American Arts Alliance 
   American Association of State and Local History
   Association of African American Museums
   Association of Art Museum Directors 
   Association of Children's Museums
   Association of Science & Technology Centers
   Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums
   Association of Zoos and Aquariums
   National Trust for Historic Preservation

And regional museum associations across the country such as:
   Association of Midwest Museums
   Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums
   Mountain-Plains Museums Association
   New England Museum Association
   Southeastern Museums Conferences
   Western Museums Association

Follow #BlueStarMuseums on X (Twitter) and the National Endowment for the Arts and Blue Star Families at @NEAarts and @BlueStarFamily.


About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. To learn more, visit or follow us on X, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Blue Star Museums is one of the National Endowment for the Arts’ programs that support military personnel and their families. Others include the Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network and grants awarded to nonprofit organizations to support projects that reach military and veteran populations.

About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families (BSF) is the nation’s largest Chapter-based military and Veteran family support organization. Its research-driven approach fosters strong communities with a focus on human-centered design and innovative solutions. Since its founding in 2009, BSF has delivered more than $200 million in benefits and impacts more than 1.5 million people each year. For more information, click here


Allison Hill (National Endowment for the Arts), 202.682.5037

Adriene Engstrom (Blue Star Families), 620.960.2313