Michigan museums free to military

Michigan’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, will have free access to 50 Michigan museums this summer as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

The 2019 program began on May 18, Armed Forces Day, and will run until September 2, Labor Day. Michigan military families can find the list of participating museums at www.arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums.

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America.

Blue Star Museums is an initiative to improve the quality of life for active duty military families, focusing on the approximately two million children who have had at least one parent deployed since 2001. This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together.

“Here in Michigan, we have a tradition of honoring the members of the armed forces, and that’s why I’m proud that 50 museums throughout Michigan are participating in the NEA Blue Star Museums program,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “We want to thank our military members for all that they do, and we thank our Michigan museums that are participating in this great program.”

The announcement builds on the NEA advisory body gathering in Detroit this week. The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and CultureSource are co-hosting the Arts Endowment and the council Friday, June 21 at the Charles H. Wright Museum for the National Council on the Arts annual summer meeting. It will be only the organization’s second meeting convened outside of Washington, D.C. in the past 29 years. The meeting will include presentations and performances by Michigan artists and organizations.

The NEA meeting and the Blue Star Museums program are both helping Michigan shine a light on the arts and culture sector’s impact in the state, said MCACA Director Alison Watson.

“Access to the programs and projects of our state’s many arts and cultural organizations leads to more welcoming and vibrant communities, provides our citizens with an amazing quality of life and makes our state a more attractive place for businesses to locate,” Watson said. “We’re pleased to support these opportunities that showcase our state’s vibrant arts and cultural scene to both a national audience and to Michigan’s military members.”

This is the eighth year Michigan has been involved in the Blue Star Museums program, with 50 museums participating statewide. These include children’s museums, fine art museums, history and science museums and nature centers. For more information on Blue Star Museums, visit the frequently asked questions page.

“As we launch the tenth summer of Blue Star Museums, it remains a privilege for the National Endowment for the Arts to serve members of the military and their families through this program,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Whether it’s an art museum, science center, or botanic garden, there are so many wonderful opportunities for military families to share a memorable experience exploring our nation’s museums.”

The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Retirees and veterans should reach out directly to the museum they plan to visit; often they offer reduced or special rates for the retiree or veteran population.

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