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Irvine's Pretend City Among Thirty Museums and Libraries Honored as Finalists for National Medal Award

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services on March 20 announced 30 finalists for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Among them is Pretend City, The Children's Museum of Orange County, located in Irvine. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. For 23 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.

“The 2017 National Medal Finalists represent the leading museums and libraries that serve as catalysts for change in their communities,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “It is our honor to recognize 30 notable institutions for their commitment to providing programs and services that improve the lives of individuals, families and communities. We salute them and their valuable work in providing educational opportunities to their community and celebrate the power libraries and museums can have across the country.”

The 2017 finalists of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:


  • Haines Borough Public Library (Haines, Alaska)
  • Long Beach Public Library (Long Beach, California)
  • Sacramento Public Library (Sacramento, California)
  • Cedar Rapids Public Library (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
  • Illinois Fire Service Institute Library (Champaign, Illinois)
  • Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (Evansville, Indiana)
  • Terrebonne Parish Library (Houma, Louisiana)
  • Waterville Public Library (Waterville, Maine)
  • University of Minnesota Libraries (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Rochester Public Library                 (Rochester, Minnesota)
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Tulsa City-County Library (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
  • James V. Brown Library (Williamsport, Pennsylvania)
  • Richland County Public Library (Columbia, South Carolina)
  • George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library (Conroe, Texas)


  • State Of Alaska Department Of Education and Early Development - Alaska State Museum (Juneau, Alaska)
  • Tucson Children's Museum (Tucson, Arizona)
  • Regents of the University of California - Lawrence Hall of Science (Berkeley, California)
  • Pretend City, The Children's Museum of Orange County (Irvine, California)
  • Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (Oakland, California)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (San Diego, California)
  • Aspen Art Museum (Aspen, Colorado)
  • Orlando Science Center  (Orlando, Florida)
  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center (Skokie, Illinois)
  • Detroit Zoological Society (Royal Oak , Michigan)
  • Mississippi Children's Museum (Jackson, Mississippi)
  • Discovery Place (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Children's Museum of Manhattan (New York, New York)
  • Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (Wausau, Wisconsin)

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.

To learn more about the 2017 National Medal finalists, click here.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and approximately 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

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