June 2, 2016

IMLS Press Contact:
Giuliana Bullard

First Lady Michelle Obama Honors Extraordinary Museums, Libraries
with National Medal

IMLS Recognizes Recipient Institutions for Service to Community

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama joined the Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew to honor the recipients of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.  The award is the highest honor recognizing museums and libraries for service to the community. Ten institutions were recognized.

The First Lady presented the National Medal to directors and community members from each institution who shared how the museum or library has made a significant difference in their lives.  Mrs. Obama noted, “Day after day, year after year, our nation’s libraries and museums are here for our communities.  And at the end of the day, you all don’t measure your impact by the number of books on your shelves or pieces in your exhibits, but by the young people you inspire, the lives you transform, and the impact you have every single day on your communities.”

The 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service recipients are:

  • Brooklyn Public Library (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • The Chicago History Museum (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, S.C.)
  • Lynn Meadows Discovery Center for Children (Gulfport, Miss.)
  • Madison Public Library (Madison, Wis.)
  • Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Ark.)
  • North Carolina State University Libraries (Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Otis Library (Norwich, Conn.)
  • Santa Ana Public Library (Santa Ana, Calif.)
  • Tomaquag Museum (Exeter, R.I.)

First Lady Michelle Obama at 2016 National Medals Ceremony
First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during the
2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service award ceremony
in the East Room of the White House, June 1, 2016. (Photo Credit: Earl Zubkoff)

The 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service recipients have shown an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of the people they serve,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “Our nation’s museums and libraries are true community anchors, promoting learning among many ages and backgrounds through breathtaking collections, engaging programmatic experiences, and supportive services. The inspiring community member stories show the success of these initiatives and serve as examples of the many people whose lives have been changed by institutions.”

Selected from thirty finalists, the ten honorees show the significant impact our nation’s libraries and museums can have on the community through excellent programs, services, outreach, and partnerships that go beyond what is expected.

Later this year, StoryCorps—a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans—will visit the recipient institutions to document stories from the community.

Photos and video footage of the ceremony are available upon request. Please contact Aliza Bran at (202) 414-0798 or abran@susandavis.com.

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 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


National Medal for Museum and Library Service