Memorial Day often presents families the opportunity to visit a museum or cultural destination for free or discounted admission, the better to enjoy the art or ideas or activities within.
But admission is typically reinstated the next day, and the summer proceeds as normal in terms of institutions, their fees, and families looking for an afternoon out at someplace historic, interesting, or beautiful, or all of the above.
The Blue Star Museums program is changing that up for active duty military personnel and their families. What's Blue Star? It's a collective of over 2,000 museums across the country, institutions that will all offer free admission to those who serve and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 2014.
That's free admission through Monday, Sept. 1. (So "summer" meaning the traditional summer season, of course.)
As for the participating California museums? They include Pasadena's Craftsman gem The Gamble House, the Laguna Art Museum, the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Note, though, that the regional list is an extensive one, and while not all museums are Blue Star, many are, and it might take every day of the summer to make it through the California list.
Yep, it's popular. As it should be: Blue Star has been around for five years, and is backed by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense.
And those 2,000-plus museums, of course. If you are active duty military, and want to visit a few before Labor Day, check out the forms of identification you'll need for your gratis admission and the other specifics.
But don't let the summer pass. It's a really good deal, and one that honors, in all of the art-filled, landmark-laden ways, "our nation's service members, including National Guard and Reserve."