Delta Blues Museum to Receive
National Medal for Museum and Library Service
Today in White House Ceremony
Celebration Featuring First Lady Michelle Obama Highlights Impact of Mississippi Museum
This afternoon, in a White House ceremony in the East Room, First Lady Michelle
Obama will join Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
Director Susan Hildreth to present the 2013 National Medal for
Museum and Library Service to Delta Blues Museum. The nation’s
highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service
to the community, the National Medal celebrates institutions
that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.
Shelley Ritter, Delta Blues Museum’s executive director
and community member Travis Calvin will accept the National
A challenging neighborhood was the driving force behind Travis
Calvin’s mom signing up her five children for the museum’s
Arts and Education Program as a safe and positive place to go
after school. Initially serving as a refuge to keep the children
off the streets, the program evolved into something much more
significant – a place for developing talented blues musicians
in the Calvin family. Travis chose the guitar when he was 8
years old, and through classes at the museum, has come to master
it. Student has become teacher, and now, he helps other children
discover and enjoy this truly American art form. Poised to graduate
next month with a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies,
Travis reflects, "I wouldn’t be where I am today
and pursuing my current career path had I not signed up for
the Arts and Education Program 15 years ago. The museum
provided me with invaluable opportunities to begin playing music
at a young age."
“Museums and libraries serve as centers for lifelong
learning and as cornerstones for our communities. Not only is
the Delta Blues Museum celebrating one of our country’s
most fundamental genres of music, but they’re educating
the next blues greats. We are proud to name Delta Blues Museum
one of this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library
Service winners,” said Susan Hildreth, director, Institute
of Museum and Library Services.
year’s 10 honorees exemplify the nation’s great
diversity of libraries and museums and include a science center,
children’s museum, music museum, art museum, cultural
museum, public libraries, and county library systems, hailing
from seven states. The 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library
Service Ceremony will be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov/live
beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
“This award will shine well-deserved attention on the
Delta Blues Museum and the important musical and cultural influences
the blues have had on our nation. I am proud of this museum
and Mississippi for presenting the soul of the blues to the
world,” said U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (Miss.).
“Mississippi has a rich and storied legacy as the birthplace
of the blues,” said U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (Miss.).
“The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale takes great pride
in preserving our unique musical heritage and sharing it with
the world. The National Medal for Museum and Library Service
award is a testament to the museum’s outstanding work.
I congratulate the Mississippians who have ensured our state’s
role in American music is recognized and honored.”
“There could not be a more fitting institution than our
very own Delta Blues Museum to receive this honor. The Museum
reflects the deep history and culture of Mississippi. It not
only plays a vital role in our community, but our nation. Libraries
and museums fuel the imagination and the intellect. The museum
will continue to serve as a destination for visitors from across
our state and the world,” said U.S. Representative Bennie
Medal winners are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions
that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding
the expected levels of community outreach. Later this year,
StoryCorps – a national nonprofit dedicated to recording,
preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans – will
visit Delta Blues Museum to document stories from the community.
To learn more about the 2013 National Medal for Museum and
Library Service winners, please visit www.imls.gov/medals.
Editor’s Note: Photos from this afternoon’s
ceremony are available upon request. Please contact Alex Butera
or (202) 414-0798.
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 123,000 libraries
and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and
museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural
and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development,
and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services
that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.
To learn more, visit http://www.imls.gov
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About Delta Blues Museum
Established in 1979 by the Carnegie Public Library Board of
Trustees and reorganized as a stand-alone museum in 1999, the
Delta Blues Museum is Mississippi's oldest music museum.
The Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to creating a welcoming
place where visitors find meaning, value, and perspective by
exploring the history and heritage of the unique American musical
art form of the blues. The Museum's current Deeper Roots Campaign
seeks $1.2 million for new and enhanced exhibits for Phase II
of its expansion--which includes the new Muddy Waters Addition—enabling
the museum to better preserve and display the history and work
of Blues artists from the Mississippi Delta, and advancing the
Museum's ability to "tell" stories that inspire and
educate future generations about this important American art
Find out more at http://www.deltabluesmuseum.org/deeperroots.