Asheville Art Museum named finalist for 2021 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Press release from the Asheville Art Museum:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced today that the Asheville Art Museum is among 30 finalists for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The Asheville Art Museum is the only museum in North Carolina to be selected as a finalist for this award. Chapel Hill Public Library is the only library to be selected in North Carolina.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. For more than 25 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities.

“The Asheville Art Museum is thrilled to be selected as a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” says Executive Director Pamela L. Myers. “During the uncertainties of the past year, the Museum worked diligently to serve the communities of Western North Carolina with essential access to American art of the 20th and 21st centuries and art of significance to the region, and opportunities for engagement, learning, inspiration, and social connection. We’re honored to see these efforts, as well as our rich history of outreach and partnership, recognized along with other museums and libraries providing critical services to communities across the country.”

“The revival and reinstitution of the National Medals by IMLS is another signal of recovery and renewal in the nation’s very challenging—but very hopeful—times,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “We are celebrating not only the ongoing excellence of the best of our museums and libraries, but their extraordinary efforts through the pandemic, the recession, the racial justice protests, and national divisions to serve, heal, and bring together our communities. Congratulations to all 30 finalists.”

To celebrate this honor, IMLS is encouraging the Asheville Art Museum’s community members to share stories, memories, pictures, and videos on social media as part of the Share Your Story Campaign, using the #IMLSmedals hashtag, and engage with IMLS on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, please visit the IMLS website. The Asheville Art Museum will be featured on IMLS’s social media accounts on Tuesday, March 30, and we invite all to also share the content with the community.

National Medal winners will be announced in late spring. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions during a virtual National Medal Ceremony this summer.

To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit the IMLS website.

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 libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Asheville Art Museum

The Museum’s galleries, the Museum Store, and Perspective Café are open with limited capacity. Art PLAYce, our intergenerational makerspace, and the Frances Mulhall Achilles Art Research Library remain temporarily closed. The Museum welcomes visitors Wednesday through Monday from 11am to 6pm, with late-night Thursdays from 11am to 9pm. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays. General admission is always free for Museum Members, UNC Asheville students, and children under 6; $15 per adult; $13 per senior (65+); and $10 per student (child 6–17 or degree-seeking college students with valid ID). Admission tickets are available at Visitors may become Members at the welcome desk during their visit or online at

Established by artists and incorporated in 1948, the Asheville Art Museum is committed to being a vital force in community and individual development and to providing lifelong opportunities for education and enrichment through the visual arts. The Museum’s mission is to engage, enlighten, and inspire individuals and enrich community through dynamic experiences in American art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Museum’s vision is to transform lives through art, and we welcome all visitors without discrimination. The Museum acknowledges that it is situated upon the ancient, southern Appalachian ancestral homeland of the Cherokee Tribe and that this region is still the home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians today. The Museum is committed to being an active leader against racism. We uphold anti-oppressive and equitable practices, while striving to create opportunities for education and action to build a stronger community. The Asheville Art Museum is dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, access, and inclusion—now and in the future. The Museum is moving with awareness and commitment, through assessment, training and engagement, to implementation and accountability.

The Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, which receives support for its programs from Museum Members; other generous individuals, corporations, businesses, and foundations; the North Carolina Arts Council; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the National Endowment for the Arts; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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