The National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum announced that it has joined Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2016.
The NWHOF reopened in June following a $3.8 million renovation that included a complete demolition and rebuild of the interior. The museum has a military kiosk with memorabilia and videos featuring wrestlers who served in the armed forces.
“Our Board of Governors made it a priority in the current renovation of the museum to feature an exhibit that recognizes the contributions of wrestlers in the military,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the NWHOF. “We are grateful to those who serve, and the Blue Star Museums program is a way that we can thank them for their service and for all that they have sacrificed.”
From the early days of mankind to the modern soldier, wrestling, also known as combative arms by the military, has been a big part of battle and modern-day training.
From President Theodore Roosevelt, who helped bring wrestling to the military academies; to David “Buddy” Arndt, who won NCAA championships before and after World War II; to Major General Kenneth C. Leuer, the father of the modern US Army Rangers; to Doug Zembiec, the “Lion of Fallujah,” wrestling has influenced and helped our military.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame produced “Glory Beyond the Sport: Wrestling and the Military” in 2009, a book that chronicled some of our nation’s greatest military leaders who made their mark on mankind’s oldest and greatest sport.
“We produced Glory Beyond the Sport to help readers understand the significant contributions that wrestlers have made in military endeavors,” said Smith. “It was also was an opportunity to honor those wrestlers who have served the interests of this nation and fought for our freedom.”
The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), 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 – and up to five family members.
Located on the corner of Hall of Fame Avenue and Duck Street in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the museum is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for students and $15 for a family. Children 5 and under are free. For more information, visit www.nwhof.org or telephone (405) 377-5243.
Leadership support for Blue Star Families programming and promotional materials has been provided by MetLife Foundation. The program also provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move. The complete list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.
“The Blue Star Museums program is a fun, free activity for military families to enjoy during the summer months,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The program is also a great way for service member families to connect to their new communities, and it can provide a meaningful way for families to reconnect after deployment. The Blue Star Museums program is also a perfect way for the arts community to say ‘thank you’ to our service members and their families for the sacrifices they make on our behalf, every day.”
“Blue Star Museums has grown into a nationally recognized program that service members and their families look forward to each year,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “It helps bring our local military and civilian communities together, and offers families fun and enriching activities in their home towns. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”
National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum
America’s shrine to the sport of wrestling, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum was founded as a nonprofit organization in 1976 to honor the sport of wrestling, preserve its history, recognize extraordinary individual achievements, and inspire future generations. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame has museums in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Waterloo, Iowa. The Stillwater, Oklahoma, location reopened in June 2016 following a $3.8 million renovation and now features interactive exhibits and electronic kiosks, as well as the opportunity to watch NCAA Championship matches from the 1930s to present day. It also has the John T. Vaughan Hall of Honors where the greatest names in wrestling are recognized, including iconic granite plaques presented to Distinguished Members since the Hall of Fame opened in 1976. The museum has the largest collection of wrestling artifacts and memorabilia in the world, including the most collegiate and Olympic wrestling uniforms. Wrestling truly is for everyone and the diversity and accessibility of the sport continues to be highlighted through exhibits featuring females, African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans. There is also a library featuring historical documents, including NCAA guides and results, as well as books on the sport. For more information about the Hall of Fame, please visit www.NWHOF.org.
About Blue Star Museums
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. The program runs from Memorial Day, May 30, 2016 through Labor Day, September 5, 2016.