MMM Earns Accreditation from AAM
May 3, 2011
“The accreditation process is both lengthy and demanding, but worth doing,” says Amy Lent, executive director of the MMM, “Accreditation means Maine residents and our members and supporters nationwide can be assured and take pride that the institution is fulfilling its mission of preserving and promoting Maine’s unique maritime heritage; that it is accountable to the community, operates at the highest level of professional standards in all ways and is committed to continued improvement.”
The accomplishment marks the third time that the museum has been accredited by the association, having previously achieved the mark in 1983 and 1997. All accredited museums must undergo a reaccreditation review to maintain the status. AAM accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public.
The AAM accreditation program was developed and is maintained by museum professionals across the country for more than 35 years, and is considered the leading instrument for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability within the museum field. It strengthens participating museums by promoting practices that enable employees and trustees to make informed decisions, to allocate limited resources wisely, and to remain financially and ethically accountable, which ultimately provides a higher level of service to the public.
“We began the process three years ago,” says Lent, “and all the work to meet the accreditation standards had to be squeezed into an already full schedule necessary to keep the museum open 362 days a year. The staff, trustees, and volunteers deserve all the credit for making this happen.”
To earn accreditation a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, ensuring AAM standards are met in every area of governance, collections care, stewardship, programming, and operations. The final step is two-day site visit by a team of peer reviewers. The self-study and visiting committee report are then reviewed in detail by AAM’s Accreditation Commission, which determines whether a museum receives accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes as long as three years.
“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 Maine can take great pride in the fact that Maine Maritime Museum is one of America’s premier museums.”
American Association of Museums
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.