Monday, May 24, 2010

NEA launches Blue Star Museums program

National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson is one of the Blue Star Museums in Wyoming

Just announced by the National Endowment for the Arts:

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman and Blue Star Families Chairman Kathy Roth-Douquet announced the launch of Blue Star Museums, a partnership with more than 600 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2010.

The launch of the program was announced today at a press event hosted by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. Mr. Landesman and Ms. Roth-Douquet were joined by Chairman of the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture Colette Carson Royston, Rear Admiral Garry J. Bonelli, Deputy Commander of Naval Special Warfare, and Ellyn Dunford, spouse of Lt. General Joseph Dunford, Commanding General of I Marine Expeditionary Force, and representatives from San Diego's more than 150,000 active duty military personnel and the 14 San Diego museums participating in Blue Star Museums.

Following the event, Mr. Landesman, Ms. Roth-Douquet, and Mayor 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 five 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 NEA Chairman Rocco 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, Ms. Roth-Douquet is married to a Marine Corps officer, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan. They have two children, and Ms. Roth-Douquet and the children plan to take a road trip this summer to visit Blue Star Museums up and down the East Coast.

"Part of being a military family means limited time together," added 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."

"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."

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

Wyoming Blue Star Museums:
Campbell County Rockpile Museum, Gillette
Fort Caspar Museum, Casper
Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center, Thermopolis
National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center, Dubois
National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson (see photo above)