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The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Receives 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Community InitiativesWASHINGTON (April 24, 2014) – The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is one of 10 recipients of this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, has celebrated 20 years of institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities. The National Medal will be presented at an event in Washington, D.C., on May 8.

The Children’s Museum is at the forefront of creating learning experiences with the power to transform the lives of children and families. It is a pioneer in both the education and museum worlds, offering engaging exhibits, interpretive activities, standards-based school programs, and teacher development workshops. Eight-year old Spencer Hahn is just one of the children who have accomplished the unimaginable with his family while visiting. Doctors thought he would never walk or talk due to a stroke in-utero, which led to lifelong medical challenges. Yet, he spoke his first words and took his first steps at the place he calls 'his museum,' The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

“Congratulations to the 2014 winners of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. From programs that foster passion for science, literature, and cultural heritage, to critical 21st century skills training for improved educational outcomes and workforce readiness, the services and programs of these institutions truly do make a difference,” said Susan H. Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We thank each of this year’s medal recipients for their innovation and their dedication to serving their communities.”

"This is an incredible honor for our museum and the people who work so hard to make it the best place in the world for intergenerational learning,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “We are extremely proud of the rich culture, history, science, and art that we are able to share through our one-of-a-kind, immersive exhibits and programs; but, it is the passion and dedication of our staff to reach out with their hearts in a personal way that truly helps transform lives and create family memories that will be cherished for years to come.” Spencer Hahn and his mother, Erica, will travel to Washington and share the impact The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has had on his life during the May 8 celebration.

“The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a prime destination for families not only in Indiana, but all across the country. By continuing to change the way we present science, history, and art to young people, The Children’s Museum has helped spark a love of learning in countless lives. I congratulate The Children’s Museum on receiving this prestigious award, and I thank them for everything they have done for Indianapolis, Indiana, and children everywhere,” said U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (IN).

“Whenever I meet families headed to Indianapolis for the first time, I always tell them to visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. I took my own children there for years when they were younger and I am so glad the museum helped them imagine all of the possibilities that exist through art, science and the humanities. As someone who served on the museum’s board of trustees before being elected to Congress, I know how much dedication, talent and hard work goes into each unique family learning experience that is offered. So it comes as no surprise to learn this Indianapolis institution has earned the most prestigious award the nation bestows upon museums and libraries for exceptional service to America’s communities. My heartfelt congratulations go out to the entire Children’s Museum of Indianapolis family. Their work transforms the lives of children from Indiana and across the world,” said U.S. Rep. Susan W. Brooks (IN).

“This is an enormous honor for The Children’s Museum and for Indianapolis, which really should get a separate award for being such a wonderful place to raise a family. The Children’s Museum is a beautiful facility filled with knowledge and opportunity for young people of all ages. Visitors come from across the nation to visit the world’s largest children’s museum, and it’s an incredible resource for those who call Indianapolis home. I’m proud to represent the district where this gem is located, and I congratulate the museum, its staff and leadership on this well-deserved award,” said Rep. Andre Carson (IN).

“A trip to The Children’s Museum is the first memory of our great city for many young people across Indiana and the Midwest. The museum and its commitment to revitalizing neighborhoods are major factors in making Indy an attractive place to live for families,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.

“We are very proud of The Children’s Museum for receiving this prestigious award. The museum is a leading economic driver of cultural tourism in the State of Indiana and a great asset to our citizens. It engages people of all ages in the arts, sciences and humanities, empowering them to explore and enjoy in a meaningful way,” said Lewis C. Ricci, executive director, Indiana Arts Commission.

“The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is an extraordinary institution that continues to transform the lives of millions of children and families. Indianapolis is fortunate to be the home of this incredible museum and its exceptionally talented and dedicated staff. We congratulate The Children's Museum of Indianapolis for this incredible honor,” said Dave Lawrence, president & CEO, Arts Council of Indianapolis.

The ten honorees exemplify the nation’s great diversity of libraries and museums and include a natural history museum, a children’s museum, a natural sciences museum, an aquarium, a botanic garden, public library systems, and a book center, hailing from ten states.

Winners of the National Medal were selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. The award will be presented during a celebration in Washington, D.C. on May 8. After the ceremony, StoryCorps – a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans – will visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to document stories from the community.

For a complete list of 2014 recipients and to learn more about the National Medal winners, please visit

Celebrating 20 Years This year, IMLS celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. For the past two decades, the National Medal has honored outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Including 2014 winners, 142 institutions have received this honor.

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. 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.

About The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution committed to creating extraordinary learning experiences across the arts, sciences, and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. For more information about The Children's Museum, visit, follow us on Twitter @TCMIndy, and YouTube.