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Museums Offer Free Admission to All Guard Members, Families

San Diego, Calif., (5/24/10)—NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman and Blue Star Families Chairman Kathy Roth-Douquet announced the launch of Blue Star Museums, a partnership with more than 700 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty and reserve military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2010.

The complete list of participating museums is available at www.arts.gov.

Following the announcement, Landesman, Roth-Douquet and Sanders escorted six, local military families to visit the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts, and, the Mingei International Museum. The six families represented the five branches of the military - Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy - as well as our National Guard and reserve forces.

"America's museums are proud to join the rest of the country in thanking our military personnel and their families for their service and sacrifice," said Landesman. "I cannot imagine a better way to do that than welcoming them in to explore and enjoy the extraordinary cultural heritage our museums present. The works of art on view this summer will certainly inspire and challenge viewers - and sometimes they will just be a great deal of fun."

"There have always been wonderful examples of partnerships between museums and military installations, but the scale of this gift from the museum community to military families is thrilling," said Blue Star Families Chairman Kathy Roth-Douquet. "Military families work hard for this country, and it is gratifying for us to be recognized for that. We anticipate that thousands of military families will participate in the program and visit museums this summer - many of them for the first time. Blue Star Families will work hard to help our military families make the most of these opportunities."

In addition to being Chairman of Blue Star Families, Roth-Douquet is married to a Marine Corps officer, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan.

"Part of being a military family means limited time together," said Sherri Brown, Marine Corps spouse and mother of two. "Blue Star Museums gives military families the chance at quality time together, that is both fun and educational without the worry of affordability. Summer can be a very long time with a parent away, and for those families, this will also help take their minds off what is going on overseas and make the time go faster."

More than six hundred museums in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are taking part in the initiative.

"The Blue Star Museums program is an incredibly creative and thoughtful way to honor all the sacrifices of our troops and their families," said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. "And what better place to kick it off than San Diego, which has so many wonderful military families and so many world-class museums."

The American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, and the Association of Children's Museums each sent a letter from NEA Chairman Landesman inviting museums to participate in this program. In addition to thirty children's museums across the country, participating museums represent a broad range of art, history, science, and cultural topics, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas; the California Surf Museum in Oceanside, California; the Mission San Luis, a living history site and historic landmark in Tallahassee, Florida; the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Lincoln - Nebraska; the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; and the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire.

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