Local museums offer free admission to military families this summer

Austin Street, Jefferson, 2018, oil on canvas, by Lee Jamison. “Ode to East Texas,” paintings by Lee Jamison, is on view through May 28, 2022 at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum / Folz Fine Art

Around 2,000 museums nationwide, including 10 in Greater Houston, will provide free admission to active-duty U.S. military personnel and their families through the Blue Star Museums program.

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense, the program runs through the summer – this year, from Saturday, May 21 (Armed Forces Day) through Monday, September 5 (Labor Day).

Blue Star Museums is an effort to improve the quality of life for active-duty military families, especially focusing on the approximately two million children who have had at least one parent deployed since 2001.

Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration. This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together.

National Endowment for the Arts

Free admission is available to those currently serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Reserve, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card. The active-duty member does not have to be present for family members to receive free admission.

Local Blue Star Museums include:


Bryan Museum

Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center


Buffalo Soldiers National Museum

Holocaust Museum Houston

Dunham Bible Museum, Houston Baptist University

Houston Maritime Education Center and Museum

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Health Museum


Sam Houston Memorial Museum


San Jacinto Museum of History

Several of these museums also offer discounts for military personnel throughout the year.

Outside the Blue Star Museums program, the MFAH provides free admission to military individuals plus one family member year-round – as does the Houston Maritime Center, which is currently available by appointment only.

HBU’s Dunham Bible Museum is always free to the public, but its director Diana Severance said that its participation in the program aids in outreach.

“Though the Bible Museum is already free, being a member of the Blue Star Museums is a way of letting the military personnel know of the existence of our museum,” said Severance. “Several areas of our exhibits also focus on the Bible in American history and Bibles in the military.”

A complete list of 2022 Blue Star Museums is available here.

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