The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced that Charlotte’s own Discovery Place is among the 30 finalists for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for their service to the community and for making a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.
As one of the top hands-on science museums in the nation, Charlotte’s Discovery Place provides ever-changing, entertaining facilities and STEM education to the Carolinas through four distinct museum experiences at Discovery Place Science, Discovery Place Nature and Discovery Place Kids.
“For more than 70 years, we have been helping families and students throughout the Carolinas to make sense of their world through science,” said Discovery Place president and CEO Catherine Wilson Horne. “We’ve been honored to serve this community as a trusted resource, partner, and source of inspiration. We are very grateful to be recognized for our work at the national level and help elevate the importance of scientific literacy and the leadership role that science centers play in creating it.”
The Charlotte Discovery Place was selected for its contributions to surrounding communities, including the efforts to bridge the STEM learning gap by working with both students and teachers from pre-K through high school; its commitment to economic accessibility through the ”Welcome Program” which has provided reduced admission for nearly 100,000 residents on public assistance; and its innovative approach to serving citizens of all ages throughout the community through a distributed network of museums.
IMLS is encouraging community members to share their Discovery Place story on how the Museum has positively impacted their life. To Share Your Story, visit the Facebook page.
In honor of its 70th anniversary, Discovery Place will also be celebrating on social media with “Discovery through the Decades,” sharing images, videos and memories of all the Discovery Place museums every hour, starting with the 1940s when Discovery Place Nature first opened as the Children’s Nature Museum.
The National Medal has only been awarded to two other Charlotte museums and libraries: The Levine Museum of the New South in 2005 and The Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library in 2006. This year, out of more than 158,000 libraries and museums across the county, Discovery Place and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library, along with 28 other notable museums and libraries, were recognized as finalists.
“Discovery Place and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library are two of Charlotte’s most prized crown jewels and my family and I have enjoyed them for years,” said Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts. “I am excited they are being recognized nationally for their work in helping all of our citizens learn, explore, and grow. Their work is a testament to our community’s commitment to education and culture.”
The National Medal winners will be announced later this spring. The representatives from winning institutions will travel to Washington, D.C., to be honored in a White House ceremony.