The South Carolina Aquarium is excited to announce its inclusion as one of 29 institutions selected by the Institute of Museum and Library Services as a finalist for the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities. For 24 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 South Carolina Aquarium demonstrates its commitment to education and education programs through several impactful initiatives including Structured School Programs, the High School Intern Program, the Distance Education Initiative, and the Rovers Education Outreach Program which has reached all of the state’s 46 counties. The Aquarium has been an innovative leader in sea turtle conservation since its founding and opened Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery, a living learning laboratory with unprecedented educational opportunity. Additionally, the Aquarium has launched a plastic pollution initiative, sponsors the Good Catch sustainable seafood program, and created the Resilience Initiative for Coastal Education (RICE) to inform and educate a diverse population about climate change.
“Since 2000, we have worked tirelessly to protect the natural world by inspiring students, building community knowledge capacity, and saving species,” said Kevin Mills, South Carolina Aquarium President and CEO. “We are incredibly honored and humbled to be nominated for a National Medal in recognition of our ability to connect people with water, wildlife and wild places.”
The South Carolina Aquarium was nominated for the National Medal by Robert Macdonald, Director Emeritus of the Museum of the City of New York and Director Emeritus of the South Carolina Aquarium board of directors. Macdonald’s unique perspective on museums and the critical role they play in the economic health and cultural fabric of the community was instrumental in helping shape the Aquarium’s identity as a community gathering place, convener, and valuable resource in South Carolina.
The South Carolina Aquarium thanks the following members of the community for backing the nomination with letters of support: Dana Beach, founder and former Executive Director of the Coastal Conservation League and fervent supporter of the Aquarium’s efforts to rehabilitate threatened and endangered sea turtles; City of Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg, an ardent champion of the Aquarium’s complementary science education opportunities for underserved children in our community; and Aubrey Anthony, a 2017 graduate of the Aquarium’s High School Intern Program and current student mentor.
National Medal winners will be announced later this spring, and representatives from winning institutions will be honored at the National Medal Ceremony on May 24 in Washington, D.C.