Barona Cultural Center & Museum is the First Native American Museum in California Ever Selected as a Finalist for Prestigious National Medal for Museum and Library Service Award


SAN DIEGO, March 11, 2019 — The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today announced that the Barona Cultural Center & Museum is among the 30 top finalists in the country for the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

As San Diego County’s first museum on an Indian reservation dedicated to the perpetuation of the local Kumeyaay-Diegueno culture, the Barona Museum offers a unique educational journey for visitors of all ages.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities. For 25 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for iniduals, families and communities.

“The 30 National Medal finalists showcase the tremendous ability of museums and libraries to service as vital community resources,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is honored to recognize these leading institutions. We congratulate them on the work they are doing across the United States.”

Since opening in January 2000, the Barona Cultural Center & Museum has become recognized as a leading resource for people interested in learning about the true history and culture of the Kumeyaay/Diegueno People. Designed to preserve Native American history for future generations of Tribal members and the entire San Diego community, the Barona Museum increases understanding of local Tribal history through innovative exhibits, free community outreach to schools and organizations, hands-on educational programming and workshops, a research center and a rare collection of artifacts that date back as far as 10,000 years.

“We are extremely honored that our museum is a finalist for this prestigious national award,” said Edwin “Thorpe” Romero, Chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. “Together, the Barona Museum staff and the Barona people have worked hard to develop a well-respected institution that would inspire further research about our native culture, become an ever-lasting tribute to our past and a legacy for our future.  An award like this demonstrates that we have made great strides and we are proud of the impact our museum is making on both our Tribal community and the San Diego region.”

Finalists are chosen because of their significant contributions to their communities. To see a full list of 2019 finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit the IMLS website.

IMLS will announce the top 10 National Medal winners later this spring. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions at the National Medal award ceremony on June 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

About the Barona Cultural Center & Museum
The Barona Cultural Center & Museum is located on the Barona Indian Reservation at 1095 Barona Road in Lakeside and is open Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information or to schedule a group tour, call (619) 443-7003, ext. 219 or visit the website at

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 libraries and museums. We advance, support and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of iniduals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Audrey Doherty


SOURCE Barona Cultural Center & Museum

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