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Free Tacoma museums for military

Five museums honor active-duty military with free admission

Forty of Dale Chihuly’s Niijima Floats, which are balls of glass resembling the spheres used in Japanese fishing nets, set atop as if drifting on a sea. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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This summer, five downtown Tacoma museums are participating in the Blue Star Museums Program, which offers free admission to active-duty military and their families. All the museums are within walking distance of each other and it makes a great day trip to Tacoma, especially on a rainy summer day.

 "Tacoma museums appreciate this chance to thank the men and women in our community who serve in the nation's military, for their service and sacrifice. We are delighted to welcome military families this summer and excited to share new and exciting exhibitions," said Julianna Verboort, marketing and communications director at Washington State History Museum.  "Each museum offers hands-on activities and easy access. You can park once and spend a full day with something to inspire every member of the family."

Washington State History Museum.  As the name states, this museum is all about Washington state history. Take a walk through the Great Hall and learn about Native American history, statehood, both world wars and more. This summer, also enjoy "Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame" and absorb everything you ever wanted to know about football. Coming in July is a new exhibition, "Washington, My Home."

Washington State History Museum, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.3500,

Museum of Glass.  Glass art is displayed to highlight its beauty.  The "Into the Deep" exhibition is inspired by the oceans. Don't miss "Art Deco Glass from the David Huchthausen Collection". The bright colors and geometric shapes of the Art Deco movement are highlighted in over 200 works. The museum will celebrate its 15th anniversary, July 6, with a celebration.

Museum of Glass, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m., Sunday, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.284.4750,

Tacoma Art Museum.  The museum features exhibits of Dale Chihuly glass, European Impressionists, Japanese prints and American Art.  Don't miss "Promoting the West:  Abby Williams Hill and the Railroads." Tacoma artist Hill painted the Pacific Northwest landscapes for promotional campaigns for the railroads.

Tacoma Art Museum, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.4258,

Children's Museum of Tacoma.  Play is an important part of learning for children, and the museum fosters that through a series of playscapes and programs to encourage imagination and children's growth. There are five main play areas that children are sure to enjoy:  Woods, Water, Voyager, Invention, and Becka's Studio.

Children's Museum of Tacoma, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday, 1501 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.6031,

Foss Waterway Seaport Museum.  This museum celebrates the rich maritime history of Tacoma. Situated in a 100-year-old wheat warehouse, it houses many treasures showcasing the sailors, ships, rail yards and workers that made up the Port of Tacoma. Make sure to check out their schedule for opportunities to paddle board, sail, or kayak.

Foss Waterway Seaport Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday; noon-4 p.m., Sunday, 705 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.272.2750,

The Blue Star Museums' free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent card), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active-duty U.S. military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps), along with up to five family members. A complete list of participating museums is available at

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