BBG Named Winner of 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service By IMLS

Release Date: April 24, 2014

Brooklyn, NY—Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) has been named one of five museums to have won the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, as announced today by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, DC. The National Medal, the nation’s highest honor bestowed on museums and libraries for service to the community, salutes institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities. BBG shares this year’s honor with four other museums and five libraries.

The National Medal will be presented by First Lady Michelle Obama to representatives from the winning institutions at an event in Washington, DC, on May 8. Accepting the medal on behalf of Brooklyn Botanic Garden will be BBG president Scot Medbury, joined by Chidi Duke, an alumnus of BBG’s renowned Children’s Garden program. Duke was introduced to Brooklyn Botanic Garden at the age of 11 through Project Green Reach, a science enrichment program led by BBG in his Brooklyn elementary school. Later, through BBG’s Children’s Garden program and his studies at Brooklyn Academy of Science and Environment (BASE), the public high school cofounded by Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park Alliance with the Department of Education, he became captivated with the plant world. Duke is now a student of environmental law at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and he continues to be a part of BBG as an instructor with the Garden Apprentice Program for teens.

“Brooklyn Botanic Garden is tremendously honored to receive this distinction from the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” says Scot Medbury, BBG president. “For over 100 years, BBG has made it part of its mission to foster and maintain strong ties to the community and increase environmental awareness and plant knowledge with visitors of all ages. Receiving this year’s National Medal is a testament to the exceptional dedication and talents of BBG staff, trustees, and volunteers—past and present.”

“Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a welcome oasis among the hustle and bustle of New York City, and I’m thrilled to congratulate them on being awarded the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor in our nation for museums and libraries,” says U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (NY). For decades, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been a staple of environmental education and conservation in New York, and this honor is truly deserved.”

“I congratulate Brooklyn Botanic Garden on this well-deserved recognition,” says U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY). “It is a shining example of the Garden’s commitment to serving our communities and families. I am proud to support programs dedicated to improving education and providing young people with safe opportunities to grow and prosper.”

Brooklyn Botanic Garden was founded in 1910 as one of the first urban botanic gardens in the world, with a mission to connect people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the natural world. Toward this end, the Garden maintains a strong commitment to community and youth education through hands-on learning.

In 2014, BBG celebrates the centennial of its Children’s Garden, the oldest continually operating community garden for children in the nation, which launched the Garden’s renowned education program. BBG’s founding investment in its community’s children was revolutionary for its time, and it is emblematic of the Garden’s continued commitment to lifelong learning and environmental stewardship. Today, BBG reaches tens of thousands of children and adults annually through classes, workshops, community gardens, urban greening initiatives, youth development programs, supplementary science in-school programs, city-wide and regional teacher training, internship opportunities, and summer programs, and other partnerships.

Winners of the National Medal were selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. After the award ceremony in Washington, DC, StoryCorps—a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans—will visit Brooklyn Botanic Garden to document stories from the community.

For a complete list of 2014 recipients and to learn more about the National Medal winners, please visit

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 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.
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