What a whirlwind week. After several days of keeping barely contained excitement corked behind a Cheshire cat grin, it’s a relief and pure joy to herald the good news.
The Woodson Art Museum is a finalist for the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
Yesterday, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency supporting the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums, announced the thirty finalists – fifteen of which are museums and only seven of which are art museums – from throughout the United States.
- Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, South Carolina)
- The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (Amherst, Massachusetts)
- Fitchburg Art Museum (Fitchburg, Massachusetts)
- Honolulu Museum of Art (Honolulu, Hawaii)
- Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (Wausau, Wisconsin)
- Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center / Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (Santa Cruz, California)
- Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, New York)
The IMLS public announcement yesterday stated “the National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. For 22 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.”
In addition to its flagship, internationally renowned Birds in Art exhibition presented each fall and art of the natural world on view year round from the Museum’s collection, consider how throughout 40 years the Woodson Art Museum – steadfastly committed to always-free admission – offers multiple changing exhibitions, from upcycled couture and iconic guitars to origami and Tiffany glass.
Programs span the age and life-stage spectrum from Art Beyond Sight implemented in 2006 and Art Babies launched in 2009 to SPARK!, created in 2010 for individuals with memory loss and their care partners.
This weekend, Walter Wick, the photographic illustrator of the iconic I SPY search-and-find and other Scholastic Inc. books, will lead programs and sign books during opening weekend of Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic. Check the Museum’s events calendar for details about his programs on Saturday, Feb. 27, Learning through Play, 3:30-5 pm, and Sunday, Feb. 28, Behind the Scenes with Walter Wick, 1-2 pm. Get insights into Wick’s artistic process via the Museum’s audio tour app.
National Medal finalists are chosen because of their “significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.” IMLS is encouraging you to share on the IMLS Facebook page – now through early April – stories of how you’ve benefited from and been involved with the Woodson Art Museum. Include #NationalMedal and @US_IMLS in your social media posts, both on the IMLS and the Museum’s Facebook pages.
Check out this video to see what five Master Artists, interviewed during 2015 Birds in Art opening weekend festivities last fall, say about the Woodson Art Museum.
The Woodson Art Museum will be highlighted on the IMLS Facebook page on April 4, a great day and place to chime in with your comments. To share your story and learn more about how the finalist institutions make an impact, visit www.facebook.com/USIMLS.
Ten National Medal winners will be honored in May, and each will be visited by StoryCorps which will record community members’ stories on site. What’s your Woodson Art Museum story? Imagine the possibilities; perhaps your Woodson Art Museum story could be preserved in the StoryCorps Archives at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.
Here’s hoping for many more whirlwind weeks filled with good news and heartfelt, inspirational stories.