Leslie Doles


New Orleans (February 24, 2015) - The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced today that the Louisiana Children's Museum is among the 30 finalists for the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation's highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. For 21 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service to make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

"Museums and libraries are the lifeblood of our communities, serving as trusted providers of critical resources, educational training, skills development, and civic and cultural enrichment," said Maura Marx, acting director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. "We salute the Louisiana Children's Museum for exemplary leadership in promoting lifelong learning while engaging and inspiring the public."

Finalists are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.
"It is an extraordinary honor to be a finalist for the nation's highest honor for museums and libraries - the National Medal," says Julia Bland, CEO of the Louisiana Children's Museum.

The Louisiana Children's Museum, located at 420 Julia Street in New Orleans, offers 30,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and educational programs that encourage learning through play. However, beyond its big blue doors, the Louisiana Children's Museum is also working to build a stronger community by fostering the healthy development of children and strengthening the connections between the child and the family, and the child and the community.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and subsequent disasters changed the Museum's course and approach to addressing community needs, particularly the social-emotional needs of young children. Today, the Louisiana Children's Museum offers children memorable and often life-changing opportunities through its community work which is embedded daily in public schools and Head Start centers. Louisiana Children's Museum community programs such as Play Power, Word Play, Literacy Pathways, Family Camp and Sensory Friendly Learning focus on early childhood development, resiliency building, family literacy, parenting and other critical life skills.

These community commitments have also helped to shape the unprecedented concept of the Louisiana Children's Museum's Early Learning Village which will be located on eight and a half acres in City Park. The new location, partnerships, and programs will help to address community needs such as access to services, parent education, and school readiness for young children. The Museum's relocation plans include collaboration with on-location community partners as well as centers for parenting, literacy, nature, gardening, food service and community gathering places.

"We believe that it is our responsibility to be relevant to our community in a great variety of ways," adds Bland. "The Louisiana Children's Museum's programs focus on the belief that all children are born full of potential. Offering opportunities and experiences for children to grow into their potential is extremely important."

The National Medal winners will be named later this spring, and representatives from winning institutions will travel to Washington, D.C. to be honored at the National Medal award ceremony. Winning institutions also receive a visit from StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs.

To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit

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 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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