The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the South Carolina Aquarium as one of 10 recipients of the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Over the past 25 years, the award has celebrated institutions that are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities. The award will be presented at an event in Washington, D.C. on June 12.
Selected from 30 national finalists, the 2019 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.
“The South Carolina Aquarium is honored to receive the National Medal for Museum and Library Service and thanks the community for its support of our institution,” said Kevin Mills, South Carolina Aquarium president and CEO. “This award recognizes the Aquarium as not only an attraction that engages families from around the world, but as an institution dedicated to education, conservation, animal welfare and service to the community.”
For almost 20 years the S.C. Aquarium has advanced its mission to inspire conservation of the natural world by exhibiting and caring for animals, excelling in education and research, and providing an exceptional visitor experience. This award recognizes the Aquarium for its dedication to education and conservation, connecting students of all ages to water, wildlife and wild places through its free structured education programs, field trips, distance learning, adult lecture series and more – engaging people of all backgrounds beyond the Aquarium's walls.
“This award cements the South Carolina Aquarium’s indispensable role in connecting our community not only to the water, and to our natural world, but to each other,” said Jonathan Zucker, chairman of the Board of the South Carolina Aquarium. “It emboldens the Aquarium to advance increasingly ambitious programs, from transforming our city’s east peninsula into a vibrant center for community engagement, to reimagining our city’s Maritime Center as a transformational learning lab for students of all ages. The Aquarium is on the move as an educational, scientific and civic leader, and we are honored beyond measure by the confidence this award represents in the work of our organization.”
S.C. Aquarium is only the third South Carolina institution to receive this distinction (Columbia Museum of Art, 2016; EdVenture Children’s Museum, 2011); and the sixth aquarium (Mystic Aquarium, 2014; Tennessee Aquarium, 2009; Shedd Aquarium, 2006; New England Aquarium, 2001; National Aquarium, 1997.)
“I congratulate the South Carolina Aquarium on receiving the National Medal of Museum and Library Service for their commitment to conservation and service,” said Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. “It is well deserved and brings great pride to Charleston and South Carolina.”
“It is a pleasure to recognize the 10 distinctive recipients of the National Medal of Museum and Library Service,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “Through their programs, services, and partnerships, these institutions exemplify the many ways that libraries and museums are positively transforming communities across the nation.”