Pond of the Blue Moon at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. Image by Will FranceStark Museum of Art, The W.H. Stark House and Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center announce their participation in Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,500 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2012. The complete list of participating museums is available at www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

More than 1,500 museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative, including more than 300 new museums this year. This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and 70 children’s museums.

In addition to the continued participation by the Stark Museum of Art and The W.H. Stark House, Shangri La Botanical Gardens is also participating in this year’s Blue Star Museums program. Also at the Stark Museum, The Stark House and Shangri La, military members and their families can enjoy complimentary admission beyond Labor Day and throughout the rest of the year.

The W.H. Stark House. Image by Will France.

“Knowing the sacrifice the men and women of our nation’s armed services make, it is our honor to extend complimentary admission to active military and their families,” says Stark Foundation President and CEO, Walter Riedel. “We hope all active military in the area have the opportunity to visit.”

About Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,500 museums across America. The program runs from Memorial Day, May 28, 2012 through Labor Day, September 3, 2012. The free admission program is available to active-duty military and their family members (military ID holder and up to five family members).

Active duty military include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and active duty National Guard and active duty Reserve members. Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program.

For questions on particular exhibits or museums, please contact the museum directly. To find out which museums are participating, visit www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums. The site includes a list of participating museums and a map to help with visit planning. Museums that wish to participate in Blue Star Museums may contact bluestarmuseums@arts.gov, or Wendy Clark at 202-682-5451.

This is the latest NEA program to bring arts programs to the military, veterans, and their families. Other NEA programs for the military have included Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience; Great American Voices Military Base Tour; and Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour.

Stark Museum of Art. Image by Will France.