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Military families can explore dozens of Connecticut museums this summer free of charge

Yale University Art Gallery
Kathryn Donohew Photography
Getty Images
Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, since 2001, approximately 2 million children have had at least one parent deployed by the U.S. military. The Blue Star Museum program is one way to bring active duty members of the military and their families together this summer, by offering free admission to thousands of museums nationwide, including 31 in Connecticut.

Blue Star Museums is a collaborative initiative including the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star families, the Defense Department, and local museums. Active military personnel — including National Guard and Reservists, and up to five members of their family — can go to a Blue Star museum for free.

Among the participating Connecticut museums is East Granby’s Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine. During the Revolutionary War, the former copper mine, with its intricate array of caves and shafts, became a prison for British loyalists. The museum was closed for nearly a decade, but reopened in 2018.

In a statement, Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, said the museums are helping to enrich the lives of military families and build meaningful connections between the nation’s military and local communities.

Military personnel will need to provide a Geneva Convention common access card, and either a DD Form 1173, or DD Form 1173-1 card to enter the participating museums.

The program begins on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, and runs through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series Where Art Thou? Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of Morning Edition, and later of All Things Considered.

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