The New London County Historical Society is one of more than 1,300 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer 

NEW LONDON, CT – Today New London County Historical Society announced the launch of Blue Star Museums, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and more than 1,300 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2011. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families. The complete list of participating museums is available at www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

 In welcoming local military personnel, Historical Society president Deborah Donovan stated, “The Shaw Mansion is particularly connected to the local Navy and Coast Guard facilities as it served as the Naval Headquarters for Connecticut during the American Revolution. We can tell the story of state navies and privateers and their role in the Revolution with objects you can find nowhere else.” For examples she noted the Shaw Flag — a rare American Flag from the American Revolution — and treasures captured as prizes by Shaw privateers, including a Goddard tea table and silver service intended for the British governor of Virginia.

“Blue Star Museums may be the program at the NEA of which I am proudest,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “Blue Star Museums recognizes and thanks our military families for all they are doing for our country, and simultaneously begins young people on a path to becoming life-long museum goers.”

In 2010, the first year of the program, 300,000 military family members visited partner museums. This year, more than 1,324 museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative, including more than 500 new museums this year. In addition to the Shaw Mansion, some of the other local museums participating include the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, the Jonathan Trumbull War Office in Lebanon, and in New London, the Custom House Maritime Museum and the Lyman Allyn Art Museum.

About Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums runs from Memorial Day, May 30, 2011 through to Labor Day, September 5, 2011. The free admission program is available to active-duty military and their immediate family members (military ID holder and five immediate family members). Active duty military include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and active duty National Guard and active duty Reserve members. Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. For questions on particular exhibits or museums, please contact the museum directly. To find out which museums are participating, visit www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums. The site includes a list of participating museums and a map to help with visit planning.