Since opening in 2005, the History of Diving Museum’s founders, Drs. Joe and Sally Bauer, instituted a program to extend free admission to active duty military service members. The Museum’s military outreach expanded when they joined the Blue Star Museums program at its inception in 2010. Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Blue Star Families and the Defense Department, over 2,000 museums participate annually with a goal to help service members and their families enjoy our nation’s national heritage and learn more about their communities. 

The Blue Star Museums program provides active military and up to five of their immediate family members free entry to select museums all around the country from Armed Forces Day in May, to Labor Day in September. Blue Star Museums also allow spouses and dependents of deployed military admission with proper ID card.  Over 2,600 individuals have benefited from these programs by visiting the History of Diving Museum alone.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the NEA Blue Star Museum program has been postponed during 2020.  Although the program is not running in its official format, through a generous donation from Museum member and long-time supporter, Liz Bonness, HDM will be able to offer the benefit this summer.  Liz has family ties to the military, including her daughter who is currently serving.  She believes in providing the opportunity for local military families, as well as those traveling to the Keys, to have fun and enjoy the Museum during these difficult times.

HDM and Liz welcome and encourage military personnel and families to visit the Museum from Naval Air Station Key West, the various Coast Guard stations in south Florida, and Homestead Air Reserve Base and MacDill Air Force Base. In addition, we welcome those from military bases outside of Florida. With traveling limited, visiting local museums and attractions is a wonderful way to discover what is in your area. While exploring the exhibits at HDM, visitors will learn about military diving pioneers and how each branch of the service uses military divers.

The History of Diving Museum is thankful that Liz has provided this opportunity to give back to our military families and take them on an adventure into the world of diving history.

The History of Diving Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Islamorada (MM83). It is open daily from 10am – 5pm and is a must see for anyone traveling along Overseas Highway. Divers and non-divers alike are astonished by over 4,000 years of “man’s quest to explore under the sea.”  The Museum Store also features many unique items for the young and young at heart. Become a member today and you too will be helping to support this worthy cause. Check out the website for more information and special events: or email [email protected] to get more details.

Join Our Blast – Keys News Right to Your INBOX