Carroll County Times

Museum opens doors to military

The Carroll County Farm Museum will be allowing free admission to any active military personnel and up to five of their family members as part of the Blue Star Museums Initiative, a program that is made up of more than 2,000 museums across the country and is a collaboration between Blue Star Families, The National Endowment of the Arts and the Department of Defense.

The offer starts on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.

The Superintendent of The Carroll County Farm Museum, Dottie Freeman, said she heard of the initiative last year and immediately decided she wanted to be a part of it.

"My husband and son both served in the military and I really thought it was a great idea as soon as I saw it," Freeman said. "We have an opportunity to give back to our community and I take great pride in helping our military."

Freeman also speaks with any visiting military personnel and has gotten compliments about the farm museum and the initiative.

"I spoke to a man visiting from Arizona who is in the military and he said it was nice to be able to plan a vacation and enjoy the scenery without worrying about the cost," Freeman said.

"Blue Star Families came up with the idea, and the NEA has been a great partner and we are very excited that more museums sign up every year," AnnaMaria White, public relations manager for Blue Star Families, wrote in an email.

White also said that the initiative has grown from 650 participants in the first year to more than 2,000.

"Blue Star Museums encourages families to visit their local museums, and provides enriching activities for families to do together. The program also helps families feel supported by their local communities," White said.

John Rego, an alumnus of the Wounded Warrior Project since he was injured in Iraq in 2003 said, "The Blue Star Museum program is such a wonderful program that unites military members and their families, and allows them to connect with each other within their community."

"One of the best forms of rehabilitation for our returning service members is to meet with others in their community, and create a relationship," Rego, of Sykesville, said. "This program is great because it provides a way of saying 'thank you' to those who have put themselves in harm's way for our nation."

Since 1966, the Carroll County Farm Museum has offered its visitors a true-to-life view of the farming community during the mid-19th century. The museum's acute sense of realism is achieved with many tools, but the presence of buildings that predate the Civil War and more than 1,000 preserved artifacts makes every guest feel as if they had been transported back through time.

"The farmhouse, which used to be the county almshouse, was built in 1852 and closed in 1965, but after renovations, it was reopened in 1966 as the Carroll County Farm Museum," Freeman said.

According to its website, the members of Blue Star Museums include fine arts, historical, scientific, and children's museums, as well as nature centers.