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Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum offers free admission for military families this summer

CBMM offers free admission for military families this summer

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is offering free, general admission to all active-duty military personnel and their immediate families from Memorial Day, May 30, 2016 through Labor Day, September 5, 2016 as part of the Blue Star Museums 2016 program.

Representing collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America, Blue Star Museums is a nationwide program offering free museum admission for the nation’s active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families each summer.

With leadership support provided by MetLife Foundation, the Blue Star Families program also provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move. The complete list of participating museums is available at

CBMM’s 18-acre waterfront campus offers 12 exhibition buildings to explore over a few hours, days, or multiple visits. Highlights of the museum experience include climbing and exploring the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, interacting with shipwrights restoring authentic, wooden Chesapeake boats, renting a small craft to paddle the Miles River on your own, taking a river cruise on the 1920 buyboat Winnie Estelle, and engaging in numerous hands-on exhibitions, family-oriented activities, and other programming and events.

“Blue Star Museums has grown into a nationally recognized program that service members and their families look forward to each year,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “It helps bring our local military and civilian communities together, and offers families fun and enriching activities in their home towns. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”

This year, museum guests have the opportunity to see the beginnings of the two-year historic, log-bottom restoration of the 1889 bugeye and queen of CBMM’s fleet, Edna E. Lockwood, which was once used on the Bay as an oystering boat and is now under restoration in full public view through 2018. Two exhibitions also highlight a museum visit this summer, including Maritime Talbot County: Photographs by H. Robins Hollyday, seen in CBMM’s Van Lennep Auditorium through October 16, 2016, and Chesapeake Ammo, Camo and Calls in CBMM’s Waterfowling Building, which explores 100 years of clothing, guns, ammunition, calls and other Chesapeake waterfowler’s tools through November, 2016.

“The Blue Star Museums program is a fun, free activity for military families to enjoy during the summer months,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The program is also a great way for service member families to connect to their new communities, and it can provide a meaningful way for families to reconnect after deployment. The Blue Star Museums program is also a perfect way for the arts community to say ‘thank you’ to our service members and their families for the sacrifices they make on our behalf, every day.”

This year, more than 2,000 museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative. The effort to recruit museums has involved partnerships with the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Children’s Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and dozens of children’s museums. Among this year’s new participants are the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover, New Hampshire, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in Pacific Grove, California, the Rochester Museum & Science Center in Rochester, New York, and El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

To receive free admission to CBMM Memorial Day through Labor Day, active-duty military personnel and their immediate family members need to show a military ID upon entry. Festival admission is not included. CBMM also offers year-round free general admission to all active military individuals. General admission is otherwise good for two days and is free for CBMM members and children ages 5 and under. For more information, call 410-745-2916 or visit