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ALBANY — The Albany Museum of Art is joining museums across the nation in recognizing and reaching out to U.S. military families through the 12th annual Blue Star Museums program.

The summerlong program, which provides free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, begins on Armed Forces Day Saturday, and continues through Labor Day (Sept 6). A list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

“While we always have free admission for everyone at the Albany Museum of Art, we want to extend our AMA membership benefits to our military families as a gesture of appreciation,” AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf said. “Southwest Georgia has a strong military community, and we want those families to feel welcome at the AMA and to engage in our programming and events. It’s a way of saying thank you for the sacrifices our military personnel and their families make for our country.”

Blue Star Museums is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense. Each year, more than 2,000 museums nationwide participate.

The program is available to the families of those currently serving in the United States military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, and NOAA Commissioned Corps.

“Art offers opportunity for thought and reflection,” Wulf said. “Holidays, including Memorial Day and Independence Day, are coming up in the next few weeks and months, and they can be poignant reminders for our men and women in the military, as well as their families. There is great value in having a safe place like the AMA where you can experience new things, let the kids enjoy our AMAzing Space area, or just get away for a while with your own thoughts.”

The Blue Star Museums program coincides with the busiest travel period of the year. Wulf said he hopes that military and veteran families in the area — as well as those visiting or passing through Albany — will visit the AMA and take in the exhibitions.

“As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, expectations are that travel will continue to increase,” Wulf said. “We hope that visiting military families as well as tourists and those who are in Albany on business or vacation will come to see the wonderful art exhibitions we have to offer.”

Upcoming AMA programs and events can be found on the museum’s website, www.albanymuseum.com.

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