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Heart Mountain named finalist for 2024 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Guard tower on the site of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center located between Cody and Powell, Wyo. (Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced that the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is among 30 finalists for the 2024 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Heart Mountain is the third institution in Wyoming 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, a foundation news release states. For 30 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities.

“The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation has been proud to support our local community and that of Japanese Americans around the country, particularly the 14,000 who spent up to 39 months behind barbed wire at our site,” said Shirley Ann Higuchi, chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. “It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.”

To celebrate this honor, IMLS is encouraging Heart Mountain’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.

“The 30 National Medal finalists from across the United States showcase the tremendous abilities of libraries and museums to serve as trusted, dynamic public spaces that meet the needs of their communities,” said IMLS Acting Director Cyndee Landrum. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is honored to recognize these outstanding institutions. We congratulate them on their collective effort to respond to community needs, preserve diverse history and culture, and create a sense of belonging for all Americans.”

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

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation preserves the site where some 14,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated in Wyoming from 1942 through 1945. Their stories are told within the foundation’s museum, Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, located between Cody and Powell. For information, call the center at 307-754-8000 or email info@heartmountain.org.