May 18, 2021

Erica Jaros 202-653-4701
Brittany Vanderpool 202-248-5487

Six Museums and Libraries Selected for IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service
From Oregon to Puerto Rico, West Virginia to Mississippi, Top Federal Honor Recognizes Excellence in Service to Communities

National Medal

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today is pleased to announce the six recipients of the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Over the past 25 years, the award has celebrated institutions that are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

The 2021 National Medal recipients are:

  • Cabell County Public Library (Huntington, WV)
  • Highwood Public Library (Highwood, IL)
  • Memphis Public Libraries (Memphis, TN)


  • High Desert Museum (Bend, OR)
  • Mississippi Children's Museum (Jackson, MS)
  • Museo de Arte de Ponce (Ponce, PR)

Selected from 30 national finalists, the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners represent institutions that provide dynamic programming and services that exceed expected levels of service. Through their community outreach, these institutions bring about change that touches the lives of individuals and helps communities thrive.

This year, the Medal will be awarded to Memphis Public Libraries, making them the first-ever two-time recipient (2007 and 2021). Institutions who have already received the Medal are eligible to apply after ten years, as programs, services, and staff have typically changed and evolved.

“My deep congratulations to all the finalists, who were outstanding,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “It is an honor and pleasure to honor these six recipients of the 2021 National Medal of Museum and Library Service. Through their programs, services, and community relationships, these institutions exemplify the ongoing excellence of our nations’ museums and libraries across the country, as well as their extraordinary efforts this past year to serve, heal, and bring us together. We look forward to celebrating them, as well as paying tribute to the hardworking staff at all American museums and libraries this summer.”

The awards will be presented during an engaging virtual storytelling event in July; the forthcoming invitation will be extended to the public and open to all.

The next deadline for nominating a museum or library for the 2022 National Medals will be announced later this summer. In the meantime, you can learn more about the National Medals on the IMLS website.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

National Medal for Museum and Library Service