AAM announces museum accreditation awards 2021 

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), has announced 9 first-time accreditation awards and 16 reaccreditation awards made at the June 2021 meeting of the Accreditation Commission. Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, 1,092 are currently accredited.

Through a rigorous process of self-assessment and review by their peers, these museums have demonstrated they meet standards and best practices, and are educational entities that are appropriate stewards of the collections and resources they hold in the public trust.

Recognized as the field’s gold standard for museum excellence for 50 years, AAM accreditation signifies a museum’s quality and credibility to the entire museum community, to governments and outside agencies, and to the museum-going public. The Accreditation Program helps to ensure the integrity and accessibility of museum collections, reinforce the educational and public service roles of museums, and promote good governance practices and ethical behaviour.

The following museums earned accreditation for the first time:

ASU Art Museum, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Children’s Museum of Houston, Houston, TX

National September 11 Memorial & Museum, New York, NY

Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, Stillwater, OK

Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara, CA

The Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH

The Neon Museum, Las Vegas, NV

WCU Fine Art Museum, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC


The following museums were reaccredited:

Arizona Historical Society, Tucson, AZ

Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham, AL

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Centre Museum at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO

McFaddin Ward House, Beaumont, TX

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art, Utica, NY

Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton, MA

National Museum of American History, Washington, DC

Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI

Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL

Rahr-West Art Museum, Manitowoc, WI

Rye Historical Society, Rye, NY

Sioux City Art Centre, Sioux City, IA

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH

University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

“We’re thrilled to welcome such a large number of first-timers to the distinguished roster of accredited museums. Along with the reaccredited institutions, this group of awardees shows their resilience and commitment to excellence as they continued ahead and completed their review during a pandemic, including many having virtual visits,” said Evans Richardson, Accreditation Commission Chair. “From botanical gardens to academic museums, to history and art museums, these museums represent the diversity in types of organizations that are accredited.”

To earn accreditation, a museum submits a self-study questionnaire and key operational documents for evaluation, then undergoes a site visit by a two-person team of peer reviewers which produces a report for the Accreditation Commission. The Commission uses these materials and its collective expertise to determine whether to grant accreditation.

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