Museum of Northern Arizona Receives National Honor at White House Ceremony

May 18, 2015

The Museum of Northern Arizona has been awarded the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the award was presented Monday by First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House ceremony.

Museum of Northern Arizona President Dr. Robert Breunig, Navajo educator and musician Jeneda Benally and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House ceremony Monday awarding MNA the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
Credit Institute of Museum and Library Services


The Museum of Northern Arizona was among 10 institutions to receive the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries. The award recognizes innovative public service and community involvement.

Educator and musician Jeneda Benally and museum President Robert Breunig accepted the award. Breunig says the museum’s mission is to connect with the local community.

“It’s a great honor and the museum is a meeting ground between cultures where people can really talk to each other and engage in cross-cultural communication,” Breunig says.

The National Medal was given to the museum for its youth Navajo language summer camp, community forums, Native American heritage festivals, and public exhibitions.

Museum trustee and Hopi tribal member Susan Secakuku was also on hand for the award ceremony.

“The museum is really — it represents the Colorado Plateau. It’s a reflection of the diversity of all kinds of life — natural life, historic life, plant life, animal life and people life of the plateau,” Secakuku says.

As part of the award, the national project StoryCorps will visit northern Arizona, and record and archive local audio narratives at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.