Aspen Art Museum honored with 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service |

Aspen Art Museum honored with 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Staff report

The Aspen Art Museum has won a 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities.

The local museum is one of 10 winners, pared down from 30 finalists. The winners were announced Monday.

For 23 years, the National Medal award has celebrated institutions that respond to societal needs in innovative ways and make a difference for individuals, families and their communities.

“We are truly honored by this significant recognition of our work,” Aspen Art Museum director Heidi Zuckerman said in an email to members on Monday. “I am also particularly pleased that the basis for this recognition is our service to our local community.”

Among the museum’s programs are Arte en Español, which provides art making and appreciation both at the museum and through broadcast radio programming with local Spanish radio station La Tricolor 107, and AAM Access Programs that tailor art making to students on the autism spectrum and those with other physical or developmental special needs. Its Generation Zine and museum apprenticeships are offered to adolescents who attend Youth Zone and Aspen Youth Center programs. The museum also works with caregivers at local assisted living centers for seniors, at the Pitkin County Jail, and in the Youth Recovery Center.

The award will be presented at an event in Washington, D.C. this summer. After the ceremony, StoryCorps — a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving and sharing the stories of Americans — will visit each of the 10 award recipients to document stories from the community.

“We are proud to honor these 10 institutions with this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, said in the announcement. “These institutions play a critical role as community catalysts and provide vital resources that drive economic development, foster community well-being, and spark neighborhood revitalization. We are proud of all 10 museums and libraries and celebrate their ongoing commitment to their communities.”

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