This summer, Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont and the James Monroe Memorial Museum and Library will offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families as part of a nationwide initiative. Blue Star Museums, which runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, is a collaborative effort between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense. Since its start in 2010, the initiative has grown to include more than 2,000 museums and historic sites across the country.
“Like others of his generation, James Monroe not only served his country, he helped create it,” said Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum. “He fought with courage and distinction in the Revolutionary War and suffered a near-fatal wound at the Battle of Trenton. For the rest of his life he had nothing but praise and respect for veterans. It is therefore especially appropriate for the museum that bears his name to be one of the Blue Star Museums.”
The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families.
“Gari Melchers Home and Studio is delighted to participate in the Blue Star Museum program to honor and thank those who serve us so well both here and abroad,” said David Berreth, director of Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont. “We hope that our quiet corner of the world will offer respite and inspiration to service members and their families throughout the summer.”
For a complete list of participating museums, visit www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.
Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, dedicated to supporting, connecting and empowering military families. The organization hosts numerous morale and empowerment programs, including Books on Bases, Blue Star Museums, Operation Honor Corp, Blue Star Careers and Operation Appreciation. Blue Star Families also works directly with the Department of Defense and senior members of local, state and federal government to bring the most important military family issues to light. For more information, visit http://www.bluestarfam.org.
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. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.
Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Va., a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge. The museum also serves as the official Stafford County Visitor Center. For directions and other information, call (540) 654-1015 or visit the museum website at www.GariMelchers.org.
The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by the University of Mary Washington. Founded in 1927, it is the nation’s largest repository of artifacts and documents related to the fifth President of the United States. For hours of operation, directions, and other information, call (540) 654-1043, or visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.