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15 Museum Finalists Named for National Medal

The expanded Asheville Art Museum. Courtesy David Huff Creative

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced 30 finalists for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities. Since 1996, the award has honored 170 institutions that demonstrated extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service.

“The revival and reinstitution of the National Medals by IMLS is another signal of recovery and renewal in the nation’s very challenging—but very hopeful—times,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “We are celebrating not only the ongoing excellence of the best of our museums and libraries, but their extraordinary efforts through the pandemic, the recession, the racial justice protests, and national divisions to serve, heal, and bring together our communities. Congratulations to all 30 finalists.”

Throughout March and April, IMLS will showcase the excellent community work of these institutions through its Share Your Story social media campaign. Anyone whose life has been touched by these museums or libraries is encouraged to share their memories and pictures and tag IMLS on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #IMLSMedals.

The 2021 museum finalists for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:

Asheville Art Museum (Asheville, NC)
Brookfield Zoo (Brookfield, IL)
Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati, OH)
Center of Science and Industry (COSI) (Columbus, OH)
Great Lakes Science Center (Cleveland, OH)
High Desert Museum (Bend, OR)
Museo de Arte de Ponce (Ponce, Puerto Rico)
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk (Norwalk, CT)
Mississippi Children’s Museum (Jackson, MS)
New-York Historical Society (New York, NY)
Orlando Science Center (Orlando, FL)
Queens Museum of Art (Corona, NY)
Taubman Museum of Fine Art (Roanoke, VA)
Thomas Cole Historic House (Catskill, NY)
Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, VA)

National Medal winners will be announced in May, and an open virtual ceremony and celebration will be held this summer.

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