May 24, 2010; Source: Washington Post | If you happen to be in a museum this summer and you see a sudden influx of military personnel, don’t panic. Under a new program being launched Memorial Day, more than 600 museums—including some for children—will allow active members of the military and their families free admission over the summer.  The program is a joint effort of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and Blue Star Families, a nonprofit that helps make life more sustainable for service men and women and their families.

The program is meant to remove a barrier that prevents some military families from visiting museums—admission fees.  Despite the fact that this program could, instead, cost participating institutions some additional revenue on top of drops in attendance and donations due to the recession, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said he didn’t get any of the “pushback” he had expected from museums invited to take part.

“The buy-in,” he said, “has been unbelievable.”  For example, Ann Greer, director of marketing and communications for the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., said, “It is the right thing to do. We work all the time to see creative solutions to budget challenges and we didn’t want those challenges to get in the way of extending this offer.” The NEA’s website features a map showing all the museums nationwide offering free admission to military families.—Bruce Trachtenberg