Local News

NC Museum of Natural Sciences receives national award

Posted April 24, 2014 10:29 a.m. EDT
Updated April 24, 2014 2:48 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is one of 10 recipients of the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Science, the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced Thursday.

The medal is the nation's highest honor given to museums and libraries for services to community.

Museum director Emlyn Koster will travel to Washington, D.C., on May 8 to receive the medal from First Lady Michelle Obama during a ceremony at the White House.

“Congratulations to the 2014 winners of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. From programs that foster passion for science, literature and cultural heritage, to critical 21st century skills training for improved educational outcomes and workforce readiness, the services and programs of these institutions truly do make a difference,” Susan H. Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, said in a statement.

The museum will host a viewing party of the May 8 ceremony at 11 a.m. in the SECU Daily Planet Theater. The broadcast is free and open to the public.

Molly Paul, a 15-year-old St. Mary's school student, is one of the museum's outstanding volunteers. She will accompany Koster to the nation's capital as an example of the museum's community value.

“Molly's remarkable achievements as a knowledgeable and eloquent voice for the natural world make her a great ambassador for what ultimately matters, locally and globally,” Koster said in a statement. “The museum is indeed fortunate to have Molly’s infectious appetite as a volunteer extraordinaire. I commend her family and school for providing a clearly successful setting of encouragement and support. We are very proud of her accomplishments."

Paul credits the museum for opening up the world of science for her.

"There's such a diverse range of things you can learn about within the science," she said. "I wouldn't be interested in science if I'd never come here."

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, located at 11 W. Jones St., is part of the state Department of Environmental and Natural Resources. It is the state's most visited cultural attraction.

The museum is open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.

Other NC winners:

  • Natural Science Center of Greensboro (1996)
  • Levine Museum of New South - Charlotte (2005)
  • Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (2006)
  • Public Library and Information Center of Cumberland County (2012)