Pacific Science Center to Receive National Medal for Museum and Library Service Today



IMLS: Alex Butera 202-414-0798;
Pacific Science Center: Crystal Clarity 206-443-3659;

White House Celebration Recognizes Exceptional Contributions of 10 Museums and Libraries

WASHINGTON (November 14, 2012) - This afternoon in a White House ceremony, Seattle's Pacific Science Center will receive the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Presented by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Medal is the nation's highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community and celebrates institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities. IMLS Director Susan Hildreth will be joined by White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz to present the Medal, and NPR senior national correspondent Linda Wertheimer will serve as emcee. Pacific Science Center President and CEO R. Bryce Seidl; Christopher Ackerley, member of the Board of Directors; and community member Andrea Nichols will accept the National Medal.

Twenty-one-year-old Andrea began volunteering at Pacific Science Center in high school as part of the Discovery Corps. She began with little interest in science, but volunteering altered her view. She recently graduated from the University of Washington and is now pursuing a career in science teaching. "Discovery Corps training built the confidence I needed and now, as an adult staff member at Pacific Science Center, I use the presentation skills I learned to present live science shows to groups of up to 200 guests. Before, I had trouble making small talk with the grocery clerk, let alone a group of strangers," said Andrea.

"We are very proud to name Pacific Science Center one of this year's National Medal for Museum and Library Service recipients. This year's National Medal recipients share the common bond of having achieved extraordinary success at reaching out to the communities they serve in effective and inventive ways," said Susan Hildreth, director, Institute of Museum and Library Services. "We're looking forward to a wonderful celebration this afternoon to honor the important role museums and libraries play across America."

"I'd like to congratulate Pacific Science Center for earning the prestigious National Medal for Museum and Library Service," said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (Wash.). "Washington state has a strong tradition of innovation and scientific achievement. Pacific Science Center is helping us carry on this tradition by encouraging a new generation to embrace science and math. Our state benefits enormously from having one of America's nationally recognized museums ready to serve our communities."

"Pacific Science Center is being awarded 2012 National Medal for Museum and Library Service not only because of its long-established commitment to teaching visitors about science, but also because the Center goes the extra mile and offers innovative hands-on exhibits that appeal to students. Getting our youth interested in science and technology at an early age is critical to building a next-generation workforce that ensures that the Northwest and the rest of the U.S. continue to lead the world in technological and scientific breakthroughs," said U.S. Representative Jim McDermott (Wash.).

Medal winners are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. This year's honorees exemplify the nation's great diversity of libraries and museums and include a school library, county library systems, individual public libraries, children's museums, an art museum, science centers, a park conservancy, and more, from 10 different states.

To learn more about the 2012 National Medal winners, please visit

Editor's Note: Photos from this evening's ceremony as well as speaker remarks are available upon request.

Please contact Alex Butera at (202) 414-0798 or

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grantmaking, 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 or follow us on Twitter at @US_IMLS.

About Pacific Science Center
Pacific Science Center began as the United States Science Pavilion during the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Millions came to explore the wonders of science during the World's Fair and upon closing ceremonies, the Science Pavilion was given new life as the private not-for-profit Pacific Science Center, becoming the first U.S. museum founded as a science and technology center. On July 22, 2010 Pacific Science Center was declared a City of Seattle Landmark. On October 22, 2012 Pacific Science Center celebrated 50 years of discovery. Learn more at