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The Chicago History Museum Announced as a 2016 Recipient of Nation’s Highest Museum and Library Honor


National Medal for Museum and Library Service Recognizes the Chicago History Museum’s Community Contributions

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the Chicago History Museum as one of 10 recipients of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. For 22 years, the award has celebrated institutions that respond to societal needs in innovative ways, making a difference for individuals, families, and their communities. The award will be presented at an event in Washington, D.C., on June 1.

This honor recognizes the Chicago History Museum’s collaborative efforts with various neighborhoods and community groups on exhibitions including “My Chinatown,” “Benito Juarez and the Making of Modern Mexico,” “Out in Chicago” and “Shalom Chicago.” It also acknowledges the Museum’s work hosting special programs, such as the Day of Remembrance for Japanese internment, which is organized by several organizations that represent Chicago’s Japanese American community.

“This year’s National Medal recipients show the transforming role of museums and libraries from educational destinations to full-fledged community partners and anchors,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We are proud to recognize the extraordinary institutions that play an essential role in reaching underserved populations and catalyzing new opportunities for active local involvement.”

“I have always been proud of the community stories the Museum has been able to share through our exhibitions and programs. My colleagues and I are honored to be among this esteemed group of National Medal winners,” said Gary T. Johnson, president of the Chicago History Museum.

A community member will join Johnson in Washington, D.C., for the June event to share the impact the Chicago History Museum has had on their life.

The recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service demonstrate impactful programs and services that exceed the expected levels of community outreach. They were selected from 30 finalists from across the country nominated for the honor.

After the ceremony, StoryCorps—a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving and sharing the stories of Americans—will visit the Chicago History Museum to document stories from the community.

For a complete list of 2016 recipients and to learn more about the National Medal winners, please visit


The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 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.


The Chicago History Museum is situated on ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi people, who cared for the land until forced out by non-Native settlers. Established in 1856, the Museum is now at 1601 N. Clark Street in Lincoln Park, its third location. As a major museum and research center for Chicago and U.S. history, the Chicago History Museum strives to be a destination for learning, inspiration and civic engagement. Through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming, the Museum connects people to Chicago’s history and to each other. To share Chicago stories, the Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents, images and other items that are relevant to the city’s history. The Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. 

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago Stories