ASU Museum receives highest recognition from American Association of Museums
January 11, 2010 -- The Arkansas State University Museum has, for the third time, achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and the public. Successful completion guarantees the highest standards in all aspects of operations: collections, management, and education. Fewer than 5% of American museums are accredited by 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—all in order to provide the best possible service to the public.
“The accreditation process is not for the faint of heart; it is a painstaking process of self-examination and external scrutiny. Once that accreditation status is attained, moreover, it continues to hold your feet to the fire in all that you do—and that is exactly the way we like it here,” said Dr. Marti Allen, director of the ASU Museum. “As a teaching institution, ASU Museum must operate at the highest standards; we’re setting a professional example for university students in our museum studies classes, students who will help perpetuate these high standards in their own careers once they enter the field as our colleagues. Retaining AAM accreditation also assures other museums everywhere of our ongoing reliability as a professional colleague.”
Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, 775 are currently accredited, or fewer than 5% . Arkansas State University Museum is one of only seven museums accredited in Arkansas.
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, considers 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.
“Getting accredited by the American Association of Museums is a distinct honor for any museum—the highest in our nation, actually,” acknowledged Dr. Dan Howard, interim chancellor of ASU-Jonesboro, “and the ASU Museum has now achieved this singular status for the third time in a row. This award is appropriately conferred—the ASU Museum’s programs and exhibits are first-class and have made a positive impact in our region. I know that maintaining AAM accreditation has been a high priority of director Dr. Marti L. Allen since she joined us in 2006. I give my congratulations to her and her entire staff.”
“Accreditation is emblematic of an institution’s commitment to public service and to overall excellence,” said Ford W. Bell, AAM president. “Attaining accreditation involves taking a hard look at yourself, allowing your peers in the field to do the same, and being judged to be superior in all areas. The people of northeast Arkansas can take great pride in the fact that their local institution is one of America’s premier museums.”
“One of the ASU Museum’s strengths is its commitment to bring effective learning experiences to the people of northeast Arkansas,” said Dr. Allen. “Perhaps the best part of our accreditation for the people of Arkansas is that it translates into the highest quality programs for school children, families, and indeed all who visit and experience the ASU Museum first-hand.”
The ASU Museum is located at 320 University Loop Circle, Jonesboro, in the Dean B. Ellis Library building on the ASU campus, admission is free. Group tours, scout patches, and birthday parties can be scheduled by visiting the museum online (http://www.astate.edu/museum/) or calling (870) 972-2074. Museum hours are Tuesday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wednesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and university holidays.
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.
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