JOHNSON CITY — The East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site is offering free admission to military personnel and their families this summer as part of the Blue Star Museum Program in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense.
Beginning Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, and continuing through Labor Day, free admission to the museum will be offered to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps — and up to five family members.
“We are proud that the ETSU and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum can be a part of Blue Star Museums,” said Dr. Blaine Schubert, museum director and veteran. “It is a great way for all of us to thank the men and women who are serving in the military, as well as their families, and honor their sacrifices to serve our country.”
“Blue Star Museums is something that service members and their families look forward to every year and we are thrilled with the continued growth of the program,” said Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Through this distinctive collaboration between Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts and more than 1,800 museums across the United States, service members and their families can connect with our national treasures with this unparalleled opportunity to visit some of the country’s finest museums for free.”
Participating museums — including 450 new ones this year — include fine arts, science, history and children’s museums, as well as nature centers, in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa.
The ETSU and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum continually showcases the 5-million-year-old Gray Fossil Site and its unique ecosystem. This summer, the museum’s temporary exhibit hall will feature “Peanuts … Naturally,” which uses “Peanuts” comic strips to highlight ecological and environmental issues. Visitors are also invited to observe live excavations on weekends in May through October.
There are also many special events held at the museum, such as the monthly “Lunchtime Lecture Series,” “Fossil and Artifact ID Nights” every other month, and many ongoing youth programs.
The museum’s summer hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Visit www.etsu.edu/naturalhistorymuseum or call 1-866-202-6223 for more information or special assistance for those with disabilities.