By Rusty Baker, PA Museums
This past summer, 93 of Pennsylvania’s museums, including all of the museums operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), participated as Blue Star Museums. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across the United States. Each summer since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. About 2,000 museums in the United States took part in the initiative in 2018.
History museums, art museums, science and nature centers, zoos, and children’s museums are all part of the program, and their being designated Blue Star Museums is an opportunity to better serve their communities and work together with other museums to attract audiences. Many of Pennsylvania’s museums provide veteran’s programs as part of their regular schedules, and quite a few of Pennsylvania’s museums, such as the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh, have a long history of serving veterans and active-duty military personnel.
“As many military families spend the summer months moving from one duty station to another, or reconnecting with a parent who has returned from deployment, Blue Star Museums helps service members and their families create memories,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Blue Star Families has great appreciation for the generosity of the museums across the country who roll out the red carpet for the families who serve alongside their service members. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”
Tyler Gum, Site Administrator at the Pennsylvania Military Museum said, “The Pennsylvania Military Museum is a proud participant in the Blue Star Museums program. Through this program we have proudly welcomed military families to our museum and programs – there is no greater honor than serving those that have served us. As a museum charged with preserving and protecting the Commonwealth’s military history, we also ensure that the legacy of the brave men and women who have served our State and nation is never forgotten.”
For a complete list of museums that participated last year, please visit https://www.arts.gov/national-initiatives/blue-star-museums#!PA. Blue Star Families’ impact from their national programs is available at https://bluestarfam.org/impact/. The program is expected to continue in 2019.