Free summer family fun with museums, books – Military Times
Whether you’re staying put, traveling or moving this summer, there are some fun offerings along the way that are sure to stimulate your family’s brains.
First, this is the sixth year of the Blue Star Museums program, with museums across the nation offering free admission to active-duty, Guard and reserve members and their families, through Labor Day, Sept. 7.
More than 2,000 museums Ã¢Â€Â” fine arts as well as science and history museums, nature centers and dozens of children’s venues Ã¢Â€Â” are taking part.
A military ID card will get up to five family members into participating museums free.
It’s a collaboration among museums across the country, the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Defense Department.
Last summer, more than 700,000 troops and family members visited participating museums.
“The response has been so far beyond anything we ever imagined it to be,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families, at an event at the Phillips Collection, in Washington, D.C., launching this year’s program.
“Museum-going enhances resilience, it broadens your perspective, it opens your mind to beauty and ideas and things that you might not have known before,” she said.
Participating museums are in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. Not every museum in the country participates, but more are expected to join the program through the summer. Among the museums new to the program this year are the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida; the Duluth Children’s Museum in Minnesota; the Space Station Museum in Novato, California; and the Lyon Arboretum at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
The Lyon Arboretum, for example, normally requests a $5 donation per person for admission.
Find a list of participating museums in your area online at www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.
DoD libraries’ summer reading
Check with your installation library for activities scheduled for “Read to the Rhythm!” Ã¢Â€Â” the theme of this year’s DoD Morale, Welfare and Recreation Summer Reading program. Libraries will host free activities for children, teens and adults that encourage a love of reading.
Prizes are offered for those who reach their reading goals. Last year, participants read 311,184 books and spent nearly 19 million minutes reading.
Installations can choose from a variety of activities, including music, games and making do-it-yourself musical instruments.
It’s not just about fun Ã¢Â€Â” studies indicate that students who read recreationally academically outperformed those who don’t. Students who read at least six books over the summer score higher in reading and math when they return to school.