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ALBANY — The Albany Museum of Art will join museums across the nation in participating in the 10th summer of Blue Star Museums.

The program, which provides free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families this summer, is beginning earlier than in past years. It launched on Armed Forces Day on Saturday and ends on Labor Day, Sept 2. Military can find the list of participating museums at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

Blue Star Museums is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums nationwide. First lady of the United States Melania Trump and second lady Karen Pence are honorary co-chairs of Blue Star Museums 2019.

Active military families will receive a 10 percent discount on programs, activities and camps at the Albany Museum of Art.

“Memorial Day and Independence Day are coming up, and with them come often poignant reminders of the sacrifices our military personnel and their families make for our country,” AMA Executive Director Paula Williams said. “While the Albany Museum of Art offers free admission every day to everyone, we want those who are serving in the military, their families and our veterans to know they are always welcome and always appreciated.”

The Blue Star Museum Program coincides with the busiest travel period of the year. Williams said she 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.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to celebrate the 10th summer of collaborating with Blue Star Families, Department of Defense, and especially the more than 2,000 museums across our nation that make this program possible, “ Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said. “Organizations such as the Albany Museum of Art are providing wonderful opportunities for military families to share a memorable experience together this summer.”

This year’s participating organizations include fine art, science, history and children’s museums, as well as zoos, aquariums, gardens and more. Museums are welcome to sign up for Blue Star Museums throughout the summer at arts.gov.

“We’ve seen the tremendous impact the Blue Star Museums program brings to our military families, and we’re thrilled to be celebrating a decade of support,” Kathy Roth-Douquet, chief executive officer of Blue Star Families, said. “Not only are museums fun to explore, but they are also great for making memories and strengthening military families as a whole.”

“The Defense Department congratulates Blue Star Families and the National Endowment for the Arts on reaching an incredible milestone: 10 years of service to the military community though Blue Star Museums,” A.T. Johnston, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy, said. “We offer our sincere gratitude to the more than 2,000 museums across the country who open their doors through this wonderful program. Your patriotism and generosity have enriched the lives and experiences of our military families.”

The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.

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