CHARLESTON, W.Va.  – The West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) announces the launch of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their community, especially after a military move. A list of participating museums is available at

“We are proud to participate in the Blue Star Museums program,” said WVDCH Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith. “It is wonderful to be a part of a program that gives back to our service members who do so much and make sacrifices for us every day.”

"The Blue Star Museums program is a great opportunity for the NEA to team up with local museums in every state in the nation to support our service members and their families," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “It means a lot to offer these families access to high-quality, budget-friendly opportunities to spend time together.”

This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers and dozens of children’s museums. WVDCH’s four museums, the West Virginia State Museum in Charleston, Museum in the Park in Logan, Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville and West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling, along with other museums across the state, including Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston; Marion County Historical Society, Inc. and Museum and Northern Appalachian Coal Mining Heritage Association in Fairmont; Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington; Art Museum of West Virginia University, Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum, Spark! Imagination and Science Center and West Virginia Botanic Garden, Inc. in Morgantown; National American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Museum, Education and Research Center in Wellsburg; and Museums of Oglebay Institute in Wheeling, will offer free admission to service members throughout the summer.

Museums that wish to participate in Blue Star Museums may contact, or Wendy Clark, NEA director of museums, at

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector.

Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military spouses, children, parents and friends, as well as service members, veterans and civilians, dedicated to supporting, connecting, and empowering military families.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts with Gayle Manchin, cabinet secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.