Children’s Museum of Tacoma a Finalist for 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

5 Mar
Visitors to the Children's Museum of Tacoma participate in Art Sparks hands-on programming. Photo courtesy of the Children's Museum of Tacoma.

Visitors to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma participate in Art Sparks hands-on programming. Photo courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced earlier this week that the Children’s Museum of Tacoma is a National Medal for Museum and Library Service finalist. The National Medal, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, is celebrating its 20th year of saluting institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

Medal finalists are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. This year’s finalists exemplify the nation’s great diversity of libraries and museums and include an aquarium, conservatory and botanical gardens, a university library, individual libraries, children’s museums, art museums, science centers, and more, hailing from across the country.

“Museums and libraries serve as civic gathering places, bringing together individuals in pursuit of educational resources, community connections, skills development, and multifaceted lifelong learning,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We are very proud to announce the Children’s Museum of Tacoma as a finalist for the 2014 National Medal.  This year’s National Medal finalists illustrate the many ways museums and libraries can excite lifelong learning and civic engagement.”

Finalists are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. The Children’s Museum of Tacoma’s contributions to the community through programs like Pay As You Will admission, the Play to Learn outreach program, and Growing Together initiatives are recognized as programs that lead the nation in innovation, response to community need, and accessibility.

Steve Maxwell, KeyBank market president in South Puget Sound, says this about his company’s investment in Pay As You Will admission: “As a banker, I care about economic self-sufficiency and I know that comes from education. Pay as You Will makes it possible for all children, even those with parents of limited means, to access the museum’s resources and benefit from the power of play. We at KeyBank see our support as an important investment in our community’s children and it is gratifying to see that IMLS also recognizes this innovative approach to community service.”

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support the Children’s Museum of Tacoma through its Arts Projects funding program. The Commission also recognized KeyBank with the 2012 AMOCAT Arts Patron Award for their financial support in making the Museum’s Pay as You Will admission possible.

Photo courtesy of the Children's Museum of Tacoma.

Photo courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

About the Children’s Museum of Tacoma
Located in Pierce County, where 35% of families are low income, 1 in 5 people serve in the U.S. military, and vital early education services are not available to all families, the Museum serves its community through accessible, affordable early learning experiences. 

Responding to community need for low-cost, high-quality, learning experiences and programming for young children and families in its community, the Museum offers:

  • Pay as You Will admission – the first non-profit children’s museum in the nation to offer admission via donation, the Museum welcomes all families to explore the Museum exhibits and benefit from staff facilitated experiences;
  • Play to Learn – a free school readiness program for children ages 1-6 and their parents/caregivers, offered at neighborhood sites across the county;
  • Play Is on Base – enhanced support services for the region’s 50,000 service members and their 60,000 dependent family members;
  • Growing Together – a suite of developmentally and needs-appropriate programming for children with special needs and their families.

Through collaboration with a wide range of community partners, comprehensive output- and outcome-based program evaluation, and input from participants, the Museum has developed and continues to reshape its programs to best meet the needs of the community. Strong programmatic and organizational partnerships create efficiencies while bringing a dynamic quality and strength to the Museum’s programs.

For more information about Children’s Museum of Tacoma, visit www.playtacoma.org.

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 17,500 museums.  Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their 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 http://www.imls.gov.

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