CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Starting Tuesday, May 31, the Virginia Discovery Museum joins thousands of museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve, and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2016 as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

A collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense, this initiative provides military families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage, learn more about their new communities after a move, and reconnect after deployment.

“The Blue Star Museums program is also a perfect way for the arts community to say ‘thank you’ to our service members and their families for the sacrifices they make on our behalf, every day,” NEA Chairman Jane Chu said.

“Blue Star Museums has grown into a nationally recognized program that service members and their families look forward to each year,” Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet said. “It helps bring our local military and civilian communities together, and offers families fun and enriching activities in their home towns. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”

The program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family 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.

The Virginia Discovery Museum, located at 524 East Main St. on the east end of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, is a nonprofit resource that seeks to foster intellectual curiosity and development in all children of the community and surrounding areas. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and recently opened six new exhibit areas as part of its 25th anniversary renovation in April. Learn more by calling (434) 977-1025 or visiting

This year, more than 2,000 museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in Blue Star Museums, including dozens of children’s museums, fine arts museums, science museums, history museums, and nature centers.

The complete list of participating museums is available at