Regional museums join Blue Star program

Three museums in Carson Valley and Virginia City are participating in the Blue Star Museums program, to offer free admission to active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The Fourth Ward School House in Virginia City, the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center in Gardnerville and Courthouse Museum in Genoa are among more than 1,300 museums across the United States offering the program through a partnership with Blue Star Families, MetLife Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

In the Blue Star Museums' inaugural year for the summer of 2010, 300,000 military families visited partner museums.

"Blue Star Museums may be the program at the NEA of which I am proudest," NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said during official announcement of the 2011 program. "Blue Star Museums recognizes and thanks our military families for all they are doing for our country, and simultaneously begins young people on a path to becoming life-long museum goers."

The free admission program is available to active-duty military and their immediate family members (military ID holder and five immediate family members). Active duty military include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and active duty National Guard and active duty Reserve members.

Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program.

Blue Star Museums in the Carson area are:

• The Historic Fourth Ward School opened in 1936. Designed by architect C. M. Bennett, it is the only four-storied, wooden school building constructed in the French-inspired Second Empire style still standing in the United States. The museum in the renovated school house shows what it was like to be a student from 1876 to 1936.

The Fourth Ward School is located at 537 South C St., Virginia City. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. For additional information, call 775-847-0975 or go to

• The Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center is in the former Douglas County High School building, which was designed by famed architect Frederic J. DeLongchamps. The museum features standing and rotating exhibits on the history and culture of the region.

The Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center is at 1477 Highway 395 in Gardnerville. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday year round. For more, call 775-782-2555.

• The Courthouse Museum is located in the heart of Genoa, the first permanent town in Nevada. It was constructed in 1865 when Genoa was the county seat of Douglas County. The seat moved to Minden in 1916 and the courthouse served as a school from 1916-1956.

The Courthouse Museum is at 2304 Main St., Genoa. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily through October. For more information, call 775-782-4325. The website for both museums in Carson Valley is www.

Blue Star Museums in the Reno-Tahoe region are:

• Sparks Heritage Museum, 814 Victorian Ave., Sparks. Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 775-355-1144. www.Sparks

• KidZone Museum, 11711 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, Calif. Call for hours, 530-587-5437, www.kid

• North Lake Tahoe Historical Society: Gatekeeper's Museum, Watson Cabin, Tahoe City, Calif.; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Tuesdays, through Sept. 30; Watson Cabin hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays, through Labor Day. 530-583-1762. www.north

• Tahoe Maritime Museum, 5205 West Lake Blvd., Homewood, Calif. Summer hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Wednesday. 530-525-9253, www.tahoemaritimemuseum



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