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Museums Offer Free Admission For Military Families This Summer

Eileen Pace
TPR News

It's the fifth year for the Blue Star Museums Program, the National Endowment for the Arts' collaboration with the Department of Defense and Blue Star Families. 

Ninety-nine museums in Texas are part of the 2014 program. This year’s program kicked off at the San Antonio Museum of Art last week. 

It's a way for the NEA to honor the nation’s military members by making it easier for them to take their families on a tour of museums across the country this summer.

"And, as you know, so much of the military changes post every summer. And so, as they're traveling from post to post, they can stop in at museums along the way," said NEA acting Chairwoman Joan Shigekawa.

Shigekawa said the Blue StarMuseums program began in 2010 when the NEA asked military families how the arts community could help them, and the overwhelming response was that families wanted to take their kids to the museum.

"They had asked for perhaps a free day," Shigekawa said. "And I said, 'Well, why don't we try to do it all summer long?'

"And so, it gives the families a wonderful activity that they can do together to learn about the nation's arts and culture. But also, if you go to a museum near your base, it gives you an entry where you're welcomed to your new home community."

The program started with just 650 museums but now 2,000 museums participate in all 50 states, including science and history museums and children’s museums.

San Antonio museums on the list include:

  • San Antonio Museum of Art
  • The Alamo
  • The McNay Art Museum
  • The Institute of Texan Cultures
  • Casa Navarro
  • Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum 

Admission is free through Labor Day for all active duty military and their families.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.