Families have until Sept. 1 to explore more than 2,000 Blue Star Museums for free this year. The program is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, Department of Defense and participating museums.
Waived admission is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card, CAC; a DD Form 1173 identification card, dependent ID; or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card. These card holders include active duty military members as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps.
The military ID holder and up to five Family members are allowed in free per visit. The active duty member does not have to be present for Family members to use the program.
According to the program’s website, http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums, the Blue Star Museum program was created to show support for military Families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration. Blue Star Museums hope to improve the quality of life for active duty military Families, especially focusing on the approximately 1 million children who have had at least one parent deployed.
In Arizona, there are 29 designated Blue Star Museums. Popular in-state destinations include the Amerind Museum in Dragoon, Challenger Space Center in Peoria, Phoenix Art Museum and Tucson’s Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona Museum of Art and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Although admission is already free, the Henry F. Hauser Museum in Sierra Vista is one of the program’s participants.
“We decided to become a Blue Star Museum because we are in a military-based community,” said Nancy Krieski, Henry F. Hauser Museum curator. “It’s an important partnership and we want to be able to do something special and let [Families] know that we’re here and if they have questions, we can help answer them in any way possible.”
The museum highlights the nature and culture of Greater Sierra Vista and nearby regions of the Southwest. Visitors have the opportunity to experience permanent and changing exhibits. Krieski also explained that the museum welcomes all ages, pointing out hands-on activities for children.
Future visitors should note that the facility will close Monday – Aug. 22 for inventory and reopen Aug. 25. On Aug. 26, the new exhibit “Journey to Cochise County” will explore stories of the pioneers who settled the area and the contributions they made for future residents.
The Henry F. Hauser Museum is located in the Ethel H. Berger Center, 2950 East Tacoma St. For more information on exhibits and hours, visit http://www.sierravistaaz.gov/department/division.php?fDD=15-255 or http://www.svhsaz.org/museum.html. Call 520.417.6980.
For more information on the Blue Star Museum Program and a national listing of participating museums, go to http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums.