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Mystic Aquarium Vying for Nation's Highest Honor for Museums

The Connecticut aquarium is one of 30 institutions across the country in the running for the National Medal from The Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo

When it comes to service to the community, the Mystic Aquarium is apparently among the best of the best.

The aquarium is one of 30 institutions across the country — and among four in Connecticut — in the running for the National Medal from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The aquarium shares the nomination with the Hartford Public Library, Mattatuck Museum and Otis Library.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to their communities. The Institute, an independent agency of the U.S. government with the mission to create strong libraries and museums that connect people with information and ideas, is celebrating its 20th year of saluting institutions that make a difference for individuals, families and communities.

What Makes The Aquarium So Great? 

The work of Mystic Aquarium was brought to the attention of Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, by some of Connecticut’s most prominent cultural, educational and government leaders.  

  • Rodney A. Butler, Mystic Aquarium Trustee and Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, nominated the aquarium for the National Medal, noting the pivotal role the Aquarium plays with its educational and cultural exchange program for Native American high school students from the village of Point Lay, Alaska, and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in southeastern Connecticut. 

  • The Stonington Public Schools cited the Aquarium’s exemplary work with young people with intellectual disabilities. 

  • Michael Cotela, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, extolled the Aquarium’s critical educational programming for underserved communities.

  • Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Christopher S. Murphy, along with Rep. Joe Courtney all noted Mystic Aquarium’s role as both a tourist attraction and the largest informal science education provider in the state.  

Dr. Steve Coan, CEO of Mystic Aquarium, said, “It is an honor to be nominated for this prestigious National Medal. We are dedicated to serving the people of the state of Connecticut with quality programming and enhanced science curricula.”

The aquarium urges its supporters to visit the IMLS Facebook page to share their stories.

The ten winners will be announced April 24.  


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