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Lincoln Park Zoo named finalist for 2024 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced today that Lincoln Park Zoo is among 30 finalists for the 2024 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Lincoln Park Zoo is the only institution in the state of Illinois to be selected as a finalist for this award.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. For 30 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities.

“Lincoln Park Zoo is the nation’s only privately-managed free admission zoo,” said Lincoln Park Zoo President & CEO Megan Ross, Ph.D. “As our tagline says, ‘For Wildlife. For All.’ And for more than 155 years, we have been a free resource to the city of Chicago. But perhaps what I am most proud of is the continuation of that legacy in new and inspiring ways from our community engagement efforts to our accessibility initiatives.”

Since 2018, Lincoln Park Zoo has made long-term commitments to the Little Village, North Lawndale, and Austin communities to co-create programs that benefit humans and wildlife alike. Lincoln Park Zoo is not easily accessible to these areas of Chicago, which also typically have less green space and therefore fewer opportunities to connect with nature. With creative and collaborative partners, Lincoln Park Zoo is helping build the next generation of conservationists.

On grounds, Lincoln Park Zoo has become more accessible with resources for all abilities, certifications from KultureCity and the Epilepsy Foundation, ASL-interpreted learning programs, a Memory Enrichment program for those experiencing memory loss (the first of its kind at a zoo), and more. The zoo continues to make strides towards being inclusive and accessible to all humans from all walks of life.

To celebrate this honor, IMLS is encouraging Lincoln Park Zoo’s community members to share stories, memories, pictures, and videos on social media using the hashtags #ShareYourStory and #IMLSmedals, and engage with IMLS on X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook and Instagram. For more information, please visit the IMLS website.

National Medal winners will be announced in late May. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions during an in-person National Medals Ceremony in Washington, DC this summer.

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


Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo is a privately managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us at


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. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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