The American Alliance of Museums has chosen the University of Mississippi Museum to participate in its new Small Museums Accreditation Academy, an honor extended to only 10 institutions nationally.
A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts funds the new accreditation academy. An advisory panel of leaders in the museum field assists the academy’s work. The staffs of the participating museums will undergo a yearlong readiness program with the goal of creating cultures of excellence inside those institutions to prepare them for accreditation.
The selection brings national recognition to the museum staff from peers, said Robert Saarnio, director of the University Museum and Historic Houses. The staff is exceptionally proud of this honor, he said.
“Our yearlong participation will require intensive focus on core documents such as a strategic plan and a disaster preparedness and response plan, among others,” Saarnio said. “At the end of the 12-month period, we will be positioned to commence the formal accreditation process, which is the pinnacle of achievement and acknowledged stature for American museums.”
The American Alliance of Museums, formed in 1906, is made up of 30,000 museum professionals, volunteers, institutions and corporate partners. The group brings those professionals together to develop standards and best practices, share knowledge and provide advocacy on issues that concern the museum community.
The academy uses a guided online experience. It combines live sessions, mentoring and collaborative activities for staff and governing body members at small museums. It is designed for “high-performing” organizations that are striving to achieve best practices to meet the accreditation demands.
“The limited staff and resources of small museums do not preclude them from being operationally excellent and having tremendous impact on their communities,” said Laura L. Lott, the alliance’s president and chief executive officer. “I’m excited to welcome these 10 museums to our new program as they take a major step toward being recognized by the field for that excellence.”
Other museums participating in the accreditation academy are:
- Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, Bainbridge Island, Washington
- Earth & Mineral Sciences Museum at the Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania
- Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Flushing, New York
- J. Wayne Stark Galleries, College Station, Texas
- Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum, King City, California
- Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina
- Museum of Art at University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
- Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg, South Carolina
- Zanesville Museum of Art, Zanesville, Ohio
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