Children play with bubbles at The New Children’s Museum, which just won the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Photo courtesy of The New Children’s Museum.

Children play with bubbles at The New Children’s Museum, which just won the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Photo courtesy of The New Children’s Museum.

The New Children’s Museum has won the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums. The announcement was made by The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the federal agency that has been awarding the National Medal for the past 25 years. IMLS selected 10 winners, of which five were museums. The New Children’s Museum is the only children’s museum to win the award.

“It is a pleasure to recognize the 10 distinctive recipients of the National Medal of Museum and Library Service,” IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, said. “Through their programs, services, and partnerships, these institutions exemplify the many ways that libraries and museums are positively transforming communities across the nation.”

Selected from 30 national finalists, the 10 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 is an incredible honor for The New Children’s Museum, and for the entire San Diego community. Our partnerships with community centers, social service organizations, schools and other groups over the past 11 years have enabled us to share our unique approach to art, creativity and play, which is what this award is all about,” Judy Forrester, executive director and CEO of The New Children’s Museum, said. “It’s also a testament to our strong board of directors and wonderful staff, whose efforts truly made this win possible.”

The New Children’s Museum has multiple programs designed to reach deeply into local communities to stimulate, cultivate and nurture creativity for children and families. Now in its seventh year, the museum’s Mass Creativity program includes a series of workshops at community centers throughout San Diego, culminating in a free all-day celebration of art and culture at the museum. Two additional programs, Comunidad and Mi Familia, Mi Historia, also bring art making and creativity out into the community. The museum also works with social service organizations throughout San Diego through their pARTners in Creativity program, which brings children and families to the museum that might not otherwise be able to come. Two of the five museum winners were from California: The New Children’s Museum and the Barona Cultural Center and Museum.