ALEXANDRIA, LA — The Alexandria Museum of Art has again achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public. The Alexandria Museum of Art was initially accredited in 1984. All museums must undergo a reaccreditation review at least every ten years to maintain accredited status. The museum was subsequently reaccredited in 1999 and has been in the reaccreditation process for the last 3 years.
AAM Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and remain financially and ethically accountable in order to provide the best possible service to the public.
Of the nation’s nearly 17,500 museums about 775 are currently accredited. The Alexandria Museum of Art is one of only 12 museums accredited in Louisiana.
Accreditation is a very rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, consider the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes as much as three years – as it did in our case.
“The Alexandria Museum of Art (AMoA) has been an accredited Museum for many years, but it has seen its ups and downs,” AMoA Executive Director Catherine M. Pears said Thursday. “When I became director of the museum in January of 2010 the museum had just begun the reaccreditation process and 4 months later we lost funding because of budget cuts to the LSU system. In these past three years, the museum has engaged the community and raised the quality of all that we do, while simultaneously seeking to become self sustaining. Having completed a self study, strategic plan, fund development plan, and peer review and having built our capacity in many of these areas over the past year, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Accreditation Commission has fully endorsed the Alexandria Museum of Art as a nationally accredited museum.
“This status assures that AMoA is meeting the highest professional standards in the museum industry in regard to operations, stewardship and the public trust. The result of this lengthy and demanding process is that your museum, through the hard work of its staff and board, can assure its donors, sponsors and benefactors that their funds are safely invested in an institution that is committed to and demonstrates best practices in the museum field. Having completed this re-accreditation process has also given AMoA a clearer sense of purpose and understanding our strengths, goals, priorities and mission. This increased level of professionalism greatly improves our relationship with other museums and traveling exhibitions assuring lenders that their works of art are safe, properly handled and displayed. This allows AMoA to bring significant works of art to our community,” Pears explained.
“I must thank all of the museum employees and volunteers who have worked diligently over the last 3 years toward this goal, as well as those at LSUA who have assisted with upgrades to the environmental and security systems. Additionally, I thank those board members that have committed their time and talent to achieving this important endorsement. I must also thank those local donors, foundations and government entities that have shared our vision and invested in the future of this museum.”
Alexandria Museum of Art’s mission is to preserve, exhibit and promote visual art throughout Central Louisiana in a way that contributes to the quality of life. AMoA is located at 933 Second Street, Alexandria, LA 71301. Phone (318) 443-3458. Visit the Web site at www.themuseum.org. AMoA is open Tuesdays through Friday, 10am – 5pm and Saturdays, 10am – 4pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.
The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional, and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.