Taking an entire family to a museum can run into the three figures. But military families can get a big break thanks to Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.
The program offers FREE admission to more than 2,000 museums across America for the nation’s service members, including National Guard and Reserve, and their families. The program runs from Armed Forces Day in mid-May through Labor Day at the beginning of September. (For the rest of the year, be sure to read our post on Military Appreciation discounts available all year.)
Who is eligible?
The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. This includes reservists, National Guard members (regardless of status), U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members.
Do I need to show an ID card?
Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.
Does the active-duty member need to be present?
The military ID holder can be either the active-duty service member or other dependent family member with the appropriate ID card; the active-duty member does not have to be present for family members to use the program. Just bring your DD Form 1173 ID Card, or DD Form 1173-1 ID Card.
What about retirees and veterans?
If you are a retiree or veteran, ask the museum you plan to visit if they offer reduced or special rates for military members who aren’t currently serving.
What museums participate?
Typically, more than 2,000 museums across America participate in Blue Star Museums each summer. And “museums” aren’t just about fine art, history or science. The list includes children’s museums, zoos and nature centers.
If you’re vacationing, run a quick search before creating an itinerary. To search for participating museums, click here.