Children’s Museum Gets Prestigious National Honor

by Max Lien, age 15

The Madison Children’s Museum recently received the 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Services. It is the most prestigious award for libraries and museums, and is parallel to the Pulitzer Prize for journalists. This makes it a much-coveted honor. Each year, there are only five museums and five libraries honored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
“They are fantastic. This honor they have won is like the Academy Awards for museum and library services, so the community should be quite proud,” said Marnie Bittner, a spokeswoman from IMLS. This is the first time any Wisconsin museum has received this award.
The award will be presented to a museum representative in Washington D.C. next year, along with a $10,000 prize. “We have received a lot of awards at Madison Children’s Museum, and all of them are important, but this one is especially meaningful because it speaks to the heart of our mission,” said Ruth Shelly, the executive director of Madison’s Children Museum.
The prize money will be used for the museum’s “Access for Everyone” program. This program makes it possible for everyone to visit the museum, including those who have disabilities, are unemployed, and those that receive public assistance, foster care, or food stamps.
By reducing fees, “Madison Children’s Museum makes a difference in people’s lives. And this wonderful recognition confirms that,” Shelly stated. “As we look forward, an award of this magnitude just spurs us on to do even bigger and better things in the community that our new building will help make possible.”