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Home / Montgomery Parks proudly announces participation in Blue Star Museums Program 

Montgomery Parks proudly announces participation in Blue Star Museums Program 

Home / Montgomery Parks proudly announces participation in Blue Star Museums Program 


WHEATON, Md. – Montgomery Parks’ Josiah Henson Museum and Park and Woodlawn Museum is participating in the National Endowment for the Arts’ Blue Star Museums program this summer. 

That program, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense, provides active-duty military families free admission to participating museums nationwide. This year, the program begins on May 18, 2024, which is Armed Forces Day and runs through Labor Day on September 2, 2024. 

“We are grateful to Montgomery Parks for participating in this summer’s Blue Star Museums program and we hope military families will take this opportunity to create meaningful, lifelong memories,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Whether you are traveling this summer, getting to know a new duty location, or exploring what your community has to offer, Blue Star Museums is a wonderful opportunity to create connection and find inspiration.” 

exterior of Josiah Henson Museum

Josiah Henson Museum and Park is at 11410 Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda. The museum sits on the site of a former plantation where Reverend Josiah Henson was enslaved. The museum and park tell the story of slavery in Maryland, Henson’s struggles, his escape to freedom and his work on the Underground Railroad helping others escape enslavement. Henson’s autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark abolitionist novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Josiah Henson Museum and Park contains a visitor center with indoor and outdoor interpretive exhibits, a museum shop, and a theater featuring the 12-minute orientation film, My Name is Josiah Henson. There is also a historic house, dating to the early 1800’s, where visitors can learn about the life of Josiah Henson as told in his own words. On-going archaeological excavations seek to uncover more about plantation life.

woodlawn barn

Woodlawn Museum, 16501 Norwood Road in Sandy Spring will also participate in the Blue Star program. The museum is in a historic stone barn and features self-guided exhibits about Montgomery County’s free and enslaved black communities, the Underground Railroad, agricultural history, and Quaker life. Blue Star families will be given free admission to the museum. Guided tours and other programs are not included. 

“We think visiting this historic area will give visitors valuable insight into the lives of people living and farming in Montgomery County in the 1800’s,” said Jennifer Legates, manager of Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park. “We are eager to welcome Blue Star families to this historic property where the Star-Spangled Banner author Francis Scott Key once visited.” 

The Blue Star free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force, members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps—and up to five family members.

Qualified members must show a

A complete list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/BlueStarMuseums

About Montgomery Parks     
Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 419 parks. Montgomery Parks is focused on promoting physical activity, social connectivity, and environmental stewardship, especially in diverse and urbanizing areas, with an emphasis on teens, working-age adults, and seniors. Montgomery Parks is a department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high-quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. 

Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities. Please contact the Program Access Office at 301-495-2581 (Voice), MD Relay 7-1-1 or 800-552-7724 or ProgramAccess@MontgomeryParks.org to request a disability modification. Visit Montgomery Parks Accessibility for more information.   

About the National Endowment for the Arts 
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. To learn more, visit arts.gov or follow us on X, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Blue Star Museums is one of the National Endowment for the Arts’ programs that support military personnel and their families. Others include the Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network and grants awarded to nonprofit organizations to support projects that reach military and veteran populations. 

About Blue Star Families 
Blue Star Families (BSF) is the nation’s largest Chapter-based military and Veteran family support organization. Its research-driven approach fosters strong communities with a focus on human-centered design and innovative solutions. Since its founding in 2009, BSF has delivered more than $200 million in benefits and impacts more than 1.5 million people each year.                                                                               ###