American Independence Museum volunteer Bill Bringhurst

Navy veteran and American Independence Museum volunteer Bill Bringhurst of Londonderry stands outside the museum in Exeter, which will be admitting service members, veterans and their families for free this year, thanks to a donation.

Cheshire Children’s Museum in Keene will once again join more than 2,000 museums nationwide offering free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families during the summer.

This initiative is in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.

Free admission will begin on Armed Forces Day, May 18, and go through Labor Day, Sept. 2.

“We want to help military families to have some fun. They make such a great sacrifice for the rest of us,” said Deb Ganley, the museum’s executive director.

The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the U.S. military — the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard.

Military personnel must show a Geneva Convention common access card, a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for free admission. The free admission is good for up to five family members.Cheshire Children’s Museum is located at 149 Emerald St. in Keene. For more information about the museum, call 903-1800 or visit

American Independence

Service members, veterans and their families are granted free admission to the American Independence Museum in Exeter this year, courtesy of Newmarket-based Chinburg Properties.

“Our collection helps tell the story of how our nation was founded and the sacrifices of our nation’s first military,” said Emma Bray, executive director of the museum. “Anyone who has ever served will find our collection and the stories behind many of our objects especially interesting.”

Home to a collection of 3,000 historic artifacts, the museum welcomes more than 5,000 visitors annually and offers school programs and other events.

“We have worked very hard this off-season to modernize aspects of our exhibits, which will better engage people of all ages and learning styles,” said Bray. “Chinburg Properties is helping us reach people who may not otherwise know about us or be able to visit.”

For Jennifer Chinburg of Chinburg Properties, the investment in the museum directly benefits the community.“From their collection to education programs and family events, we believe in what the museum is doing in our communities,” said Jennifer Chinburg of Chinburg Properties.“We are honored to be able to support their work in the community as well as the sacrifices made by active military, veterans and their families.”To learn more about the museum, which is open Tuesday through Saturday, go to