Museum promotes free admission for military families


The Cheney Historical Museum is joining more than 1,800 other museums this summer in promoting a program helping active duty military personnel and their families experience history.

The Blue Star Museum Program is a collaboration between Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Defense to provide free museum admission to military families around the country. In the case of the Cheney Museum, it’s more about promoting the program’s availability at other museums than it is about admission since they do not charge admission.

“It’s hard to do something like this when all you do is free,” museum director Joan Mamanakis said. “We’ll let military families know this is available.”

According to a news release the free admission program is open to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card, a DD form 1173 ID card or a DD form 1173-1 ID card. This includes active duty personnel in all five military branches as well as the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps.

Blue Star Families is a national, non-profit network of military families from all services and ranks that supports and connects military families. The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the federal government, established by Congress in 1965, whose mission is to support “artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.”

While the Cheney Museum is only promoting the program, Mamanakis said two local museums are participating by offering free admission – The Museum of Arts and Culture (The MAC) in Spokane and the Museum of North Idaho in Coeur d’Alene. Museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa are taking part, with 450 new museums signing up this year. More information is available online at

The Cheney Museum is open three days a week during the summer, Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mamanakis said they have a new exhibit running through September of wedding dresses and suits of different eras from the 1870s through 1989, with some on loan from local families.

John McCallum can be reached at


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