The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Blue Star Museums now number 1,500 nationwide

by National Endowment for the Arts


Sheridan County Museum is the latest museum to offer free admission to active duty military families this summer

Washington, DC – On Friday, the director of Sheridan County Museum in Sheridan, Wyoming received a surprise call from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, who called to say his museum was the 1,500th institution to join the Blue Star Museums program. Blue Star Museums is a national partnership among Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts, and now 1,500 museums across the country to offer free admission to active duty military and their families between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2011. Since the launch of Blue Star Museums in May, the number of participating museums has grown from 1,300 to 1,500.

“When we first found out about Blue Star Museums, we wanted to participate, and the fact that we are number 1,500 is great,” said Nathan Doerr, Sheridan County Museum Director and Curator of Museum Education. “My goal is to make each of our exhibits family friendly, and share a local perspective on the history of the West.”

The Sheridan County Museum’s collection reveals the varied prehistoric, social, and cultural history of this region, from its role as a key hunting ground of the Plains Indians to its tumultuous place in the western expansion in the 1800s. Programs like “Tidbit Tuesdays,” archaeological digs, and the Junior Curator program offer hands-on activities to experience life on the Plains.

Another new Blue Star Museum is The Francis Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in upstate New York. Founded in 2000, the Tang Museum was developed to promote active use of the museum by the Skidmore College community, foster dialogue between academic disciplines, and encourage exchange between the campus and the communities of upstate New York. The current exhibition Environment and Object • Recent African Art examines the impact of the environment on contemporary African life. Other newcomers are The Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco, California, and the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Visit the NEA website for the entire list of Blue Star Museums.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

Sally Gifford

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