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Geneva History Museum nominated for national medal

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 9:46 p.m. CDT

GENEVA – The Geneva History Museum was nominated for the 2015 National Medal for Museum Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community, officials said.

The nomination came from U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield, said Terry Emma, the Geneva History Museum executive director.

The museum is at 113 S. Third St., Geneva.

“You have to be nominated to apply for the medal,” Emma said. “And to have [the nomination] come from Congressman Hultgren means a lot, it gives it more gravitas, more backing. This kind of an award ... validates what we do and, in turn, can help us raise money in the future. It is kind of a big deal.”

Emma said their application is due Oct. 15. A spokesperson for the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C., said recipients are notified in the spring and receive their medals in a public ceremony. 

First lady Michelle Obama presented the 10 recipients with their 2014 awards in a White House ceremony May 8, marking the 20th year the medal was given. This year’s winners included the Chicago Public Library.

The spokesperson said medal recipients also receive $5,000. 

The goal of the National Medal Program is to support exceptional institutions whose commitment to their community goes beyond what one expects of a museum or library, according to its website.

In all, 142 institutions have received the medal since 1994, 13 from Illinois and only one them from Kane County – the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin in 2009.

Emma said with the recent rebranding from history center to museum and reopening a refurbished main gallery featuring “Geneva’s Story” this past weekend, the Geneva History Museum is raising its profile.

“Our goal is to become the first nationally accredited museum in Kane County,” Emma said. “If we are nationally accredited, that means we are validated by the American Alliance of Museums ... that we meet or exceed the standards for museums, and that’s huge. There is no reason why we would not be able to achieve that goal.”

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