What a beautiful thing it is when something that enriches us and inspires us and makes us happy is there for us to enjoy, always, even for a get-in fee.
It's nothing to take for granted, in short. But when those places bid goodbye to the get-in fee, for those who serve our country, and their families, for three long months — actually, a bit over — then prepare for something extra special and very popular.
It's Blue Star Museums, which is back for the summer of 2015 at over 2,000 museums across the country. Nope, we didn't lean to heavily on the zero key there: The number is not 200 but indeed 2,000, and every state in the union is represented.
Which becomes clearer when you learn that over 700,000 people visited cultural institutions over during the late May to early September run in 2014.
Why is the program, which offers free museum admission to military families, so popular? It has been around for just over a half decade now, so it is known. It covers a wide swath of institutions, from art to historic to nature to military to cultural, in hundreds of cities and places far from cities.
And it is a very nice way to say thank you to the people in the forces and their kin.
So who can take part in the program, which is a partnership between several organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Defense? "(T)he nation's service members, including National Guard and Reserve," are all a part of the Blue Star Families.
The Kern County Museum, the Skirball Cultural Center, and the Pasadena Museum of History are all on the California roster of Blue Star Museums. It's a long one, and just may inspire your summertime road trips around the Golden State. Or beyond: All 2,000+ places may be visited, admission-free, regardless of your home state.
As for the fam-fun photo contests, creativity competitions, and more? Look over here. As for the start and close dates? Blue Star twinkles from Monday, May 25 through Monday, Sept. 7.