The New Children’s Museum Up for National Award

The New Children’s Museum is getting national recognition for its impact on the San Diego community. The Museum is one of only 15 museums nationwide (and one of two children’s museums) selected as a finalist for the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This is the highest honor given by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), celebrating institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service. Only two California museums made the list: The New Children’s Museum and the Barona Cultural Center & Museum.

The New Children’s Museum was nominated for the National Medal by U.S. Congressman Scott Peters, who applauds the Museum’s approach of commissioning contemporary artists to create inspiring and engaging art installations for children to explore. “The New Children’s Museum uniquely embraces an innovative concept that immerses children in art and design,” said Peters. “I brought my own kids there to think, play and create – like many families in the San Diego region. It is a cornerstone of our community and a model for engaging people of all backgrounds with art. This award is certainly a testament to The New Children’s Museum’s service to San Diegans.”

The Museum’s community involvement includes relationships throughout San Diego with hundreds of social service agencies, schools, community leaders and other groups. Through a broad range of programs, the Museum provides free or deeply discounted admission to over 25% of its annual visitors, which include Title I schools; Head Start groups; social service groups working with abuse, homelessness and neuro/physical disabilities; families accessing public library passes; and military families.

“We believe our unique approach to early learning through exposure to art and play is making an impact on the lives of children and families throughout San Diego,” Judy Forrester, Executive Director/CEO of The New Children’s Museum shared with Giving Back Magazine. “It is truly an honor for The New Children’s Museum to be recognized by IMLS for the work we are doing in the community.”

In addition to welcoming visitors to its multi-level building in San Diego’s downtown Marina District, the Museum has expanded its community outreach efforts over the past several years. Through three signature programs – Mass Creativity, Mi Familia, Mi Historia and Comunidad – the Museum works with community partners that represent the broad range of cultural and economic differences that makes San Diego unique. Through collaboratively designed art-making workshops, they bring art and the creative process to hundreds of children and families throughout the region.

Since 1994, IMLS has presented the National Medal to institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to community service. This year’s finalists include 15 museums and 15 libraries. The winners will be announced at the end of April and acknowledged for their contributions at the National Medal award ceremony on June 12 in Washington, D.C. “The 30 National Medal finalists showcase the tremendous ability of libraries and museums to serve as vital community resources,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is honored to recognize these leading institutions. We congratulate them on the work they are doing across the United States.”

More information about the The New Children’s Museum’s innovative art installations and creative programming can be found at