The Louisiana Children’s Museum was one of 10 winners of the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums serving their communities in exceptional ways. Community member Kanitra Charles traveled with CEO Julia Bland to Washington D.C., in May to accept the award.

Kanitra Charles, a single mother of four, had no idea of the impact winning a yearlong membership to Louisiana Children’s Museum would have on her and her family. She discovered that the museum wasn’t just somewhere for the children to spend time and hang out - but that the exhibits challenged them through play and engaged them in new real world experiences. She enrolled in the museum’s Eat, Sleep, Play and Word Play family programs, as well as a 20-week parenting course. The programs introduced Kanitra and her children to learning, literacy, and healthy eating concepts that changed their home life. She now prepares healthier snacks for her children and reads with them using books from the class. She feels that her experiences with Louisiana Children’s Museum have helped her children acquire a love of learning and equipped her to support their development.

Kanitra says, “My family has shared countless joyous occasions at the museum or participating in museum programs—all eye-opening, fun learning experiences!”

IMLS is now accepting nominations for the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Nomination forms are due October 1, 2015.