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Bootheel Youth Museum honored at D.C. ceremony

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Photo Provided AmeriCorps Science Coach Lauren Collins and Bootheel Youth Museum Executive Director Patsy Reublin were presented the National Medal for Museum and Library Service by Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
"This isn't an award just for the museum," explained Bootheel Youth Museum Executive Director Patsy Reublin, "but for the community. It has put us with a group of really tremendous museums."

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) seemed to agree with her in their summary provided in the National Medal for Museum and Library Service award booklet.

Referenced was the active part the local community has played in making the BYM the museum it is today.

"Bootheel was founded through the efforts of three local women who thought rural, economically disadvantaged children should have the same enrichment opportunities as their urban peers. The community rallied behind the idea, even voting for a sales tax to help fund the museum, and it's the community that has helped expand the museum from fifty exhibits in 1996 to 250 today," reads the description continuing to credit the many volunteers who entertain and educate the 30,000 annual visitors.

According to IMLS, medal winners are selected from a nationwide nominations process. Successful institutions demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. The winners, of which the Bootheel Youth Museum is one of ten, are representative of the great diversity of U.S. libraries and museums and share the common bond of having achieved extraordinary success at reaching out to the communities they serve in effective and inventive ways.

Reublin credits community excitement as what sets the Bootheel Youth Museum apart from others of a similar function explaining that the museum and community work together to enrich and support each other.

IMLS mentions that the museum, community partners and AmeriCorps volunteers offer science demonstrations to local schools and present traveling exhibits to local fairs.

Reublin explained to IMLS, "We get a lot of comments like, 'How can such a small place have something so fantastic?' You need a community and a fantastic mission, and all of these things came together in Malden. It's possible because of our community."

IMLS and the Nation Medal program are supported by the History Channel and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities and partners with StoryCorps to document stories that demonstrate the ongoing impact of the award winning institutions.

While in D.C., Reublin and Collins met with U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and U.S. Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson. Both expressing their congratulations to the museum for their award.

Reublin and Collins were awarded the National Medal on behalf of the museum while at a ceremony held at the Old Executive Office Building.

Collins explained of her experience, " It was amazing to get to be part of the ceremony and I am beyond excited for the BYM. It is such an honor for the museum and for our community who has been a large part of the growth of the museum."

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