Blue Star Museums in Florida
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s currently-serving military members, including those in the National Guard and Reserve, and their families each summer. A variety of museums across the United States, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, are registered as Blue Star Museums–the types of participating organizations range widely from children’s museums and art museums, history and science museums, zoos, nature centers, and several others.
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) supports the United States military, with a growing focus on arts therapy as a critical element of military health care. (Besides the Blue Star Museums program, the NEA has founded the Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network “to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers.” The NEA also endorses other partnerships between arts programs and the military.)
Participation in the Blue Star Museums program is entirely voluntary. By registering, museums express their appreciation and support for the United States military and their families, while acknowledging that there are hardships that come with serving the nation and that the arts can be a mitigating force in difficult times. Several museums participate in the program, including 40+ Blue Star Museums across the state of Florida. For example, visitors to the southwest Florida area can stop in at the Naples Botanical Garden, a 170-acre garden that features plants from around the world known for its award-winning horticultural design and comprehensive approach to sustainability. Spending time in the Garden is an opportunity for military families to have fun in a low-stress environment, making difficult times more manageable.
The Blue Star Museums program begins on Armed Forces Day in mid-May and ends on Labor Day at the beginning of September every year. September 6, 2021 is your last chance this year to visit Blue Star Museums for the summer.
The Naples Art District boasts the largest concentration of working artists in the Southwest Florida area. The District gives the unique coalition of over 70 professional fine artists a place to share their talents with art lovers in the local community and visitors from around the world. The member artists of the Naples Art District (NAD) create using a wide variety of mediums and methods, from painting to photography, sculpture to woodworking, jewelry making to fiber arts, and so many more! NAD has a calendar of Naples art events, art shows, artists workshops, and art classes, available online for anyone who wants to explore the fine arts in greater depth. If you are planning a trip to visit the Naples area and are interested in finding out more about the Naples Art District, contact the organization any time online or by phone at 239-249-1977. The Naples Art District, located north of Pine Ridge Road and west of Airport Road, awaits your visit!
Written by Erika Mehlhaff