Mayport, Naval Air Station and Blount Island are where most of Jacksonville’s military personnel work, but this summer, three Northeast Florida museums are helping military families play.
More than 2,000 museums across the United States are collaborating with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day (Sept. 2).
The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville is offering miliatry families free admission to its three summer exhibits: Inside/Out, which includes the permanent collection, Project Atrium by Sarah Emerson, and "Traces" by Lari Gibbons, whose meticulous renderings reflect an engagement with the natural world. In addition, admission to MOCA is free to everyone on the first Wednesday of every month during Art Walk.
The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is always free for visitors, but a special exhibition, "World War II in Mandarin," is on display through Labor Day. The exhibit is a snapshot of World War II and includes information on local residents who served and how the war affected those at home. The Mandarin Museum offers exhibits looking into the colorful history of the area and a rotating gallery that features both modern and past artists who lived or were inspired in the Mandarin area. Families with musicians are invited on select Sundays in June for “Music Under the Oaks,” an open jam in the front yard of the museum.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens extends free admission not only to active military families but to retired as well. With valid identification, families can enjoy full access to the museum and gardens, as well as the special exhibitions. This summer, the Cummer will have family-friendly movie nights in the lush gardens. Two exhibits are on display throughout the summer — "La Florida, which celebrates 500 years of Florida’s past, and "Future Retro," which explores the great age of the American automobile — in addition to the permanent collection.
Blue Star Families is a national nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services dedicated to supporting, connecting and empowering military families.