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Galveston County
Galveston's Ocean Star Drilling Rig Museum Welcomes Military Personnel and Families as a Blue Star Museum
News Release
Monday, May 23, 2011

Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum is one of more than 800 museums to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer


Galveston, TX — Today the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum announced the launch of Blue Star Museums, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Blue Star Families, and more than 800 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day, September 5, 2011. Families can visit for museum hours. The complete list of participating Blue Star Museums is available at


“America’s museums are proud to join the rest of the country in thanking our military personnel and their families for their service and sacrifice,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “I cannot imagine a better way to do that than welcoming them in to explore and enjoy the extraordinary cultural heritage our museums present. The works of art on view this summer will inspire and challenge viewers, and sometimes they will just be a great deal of fun.”


“There have always been wonderful examples of partnerships between museums and military installations, but the scale of this gift from the museum communities to military families is thrilling,” said Blue Star Families Chairman Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Military families work hard for this country, and it is gratifying for us to be recognized for that. We anticipate that thousands of military families will participate in the program and visit museums this summer – many of them for the first time. Blue Star Families will work hard to help our military families make the most of these opportunities.”


Lisa Lisinicchia, the Ocean Star’s operations director, stated, “This is a great opportunity, not only to thank our military personnel, but to call attention to the rebirth of the City of Galveston after the devastation of Hurricane Ike in 2008. This is the second year for the partnerships and in 2010 the Ocean Star welcomed approximately 100 military personnel to the museum. We hope as the program grows more military families will visit the Ocean Star.


More than 800 museums in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are taking part in the initiative. The American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, and the Association of Children’s Museums each sent a letter inviting museums to participate in this program. In addition to Galveston’s Ocean Star Museum, thirty children’s museums across the country, participating museums represent a broad range of art, history, science, and cultural topics -- from the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum in Galveston, Texas, to the California Surf Museum in Oceanside, California, to the Mission San Luis, a living history site and historic landmark in Tallahassee, Florida, to the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Lincoln – Nebraska, the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, and the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire.


Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education CenterThe Ocean Star, a retired jack up rig, was acquired in 1995, moved to Galveston, refurbished, and opened as the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center in 1997. Thousands of students, teachers, industry tours, youth groups, and families have experienced the offshore energy industry first hand through the Ocean Star.


Today it is a one-of-a-kind center for science education. More than 70 interpretive exhibits, models, and multimedia displays about the offshore oil and natural gas industry await you on the Ocean Star, berthed at Pier 19 in Galveston.


In 2009 the museum underwent a major renovation to the exterior hull along with upgrades and new exhibits within the museum itself. As you explore the museum, you will be amazed by the hands-on learning and discovery opportunities related to earth science, math, engineering, history, the environment, and offshore technology. The museum features three floors of models and interactive displays illustrating the exciting story of offshore oil and natural gas from seismic technology to exploration and production to pipelining and marine transportation. Scale models of production platforms, authentic drill bits and remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs), videos and exhibits explain drilling, geology, seismic, well servicing, production, construction, and environmental protection. No trip to the Ocean Star is complete without visiting the Mitchell Energy Theater or taking the skywalk out onto the drill floor of the rig and pipe deck!


Blue Star MuseumsBlue Star Museums runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, September 5, 2011. The free admission program is available 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 military and their immediate family members, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserve. Some special or limited time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. For questions on particular exhibits or museums, please contact the museum directly. To find out which museums are participating, visit The site includes a list of participating museums and a map to help with visit planning.


This is the latest Arts Endowment program to bring quality arts programs to the military, veterans, and their families. Other NEA programs for the military have included Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, Great American Voices Military Base Tour, and Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour.

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