The Louisiana Children’s Museum is one of 30 finalists for the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, presented by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Finalists are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.

“It is an extraordinary honor to be a finalist for the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries: the National Medal,” said Julia Bland, CEO of the Louisiana Children’s Museum.

The Louisiana Children’s Museum, 420 Julia St., in New Orleans offers 30,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and educational programs that encourage learning through play. Beyond its big blue doors, the Louisiana Children’s Museum is also working to build a stronger community by fostering the healthy development of children and strengthening the connections between the child and the family, and the child and the community.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and subsequent disasters changed the museum’s course and approach to addressing community needs, particularly the social-emotional needs of young children. Today, the Louisiana Children’s Museum offers children memorable and often life-changing opportunities through its community work, which is embedded daily in public schools and Head Start centers. Louisiana Children’s Museum community programs such as Play Power, Word Play, Literacy Pathways, Family Camp and Sensory Friendly Learning focus on early childhood development, resiliency building, family literacy, parenting and other critical life skills.

The museum is making plans for a move to an Early Learning Village that is expected to open in 2018 on 8.5 acres in New Orleans City Park. The new location, partnerships and programs will help to address community needs such as access to services, parent education and school readiness for young children. The museum’s relocation plans include collaboration with on-location community partners as well as centers for parenting, literacy, nature, gardening, food service and community gathering places.

To see the list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit www.imls.gov/medals.