On Tuesday, May 14 at 11 AM, the Springfield Museums hosted a public announcement of their accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum or museum consortium. The event took place in the Blake Court of the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. Attendees included Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal and other elected officials, as well as members of the Museums board and staff, volunteers, and donors.
AAM Accreditation is the field’s primary vehicle to recognize an institution for its commitment to excellence in all that it does: governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. Of the nation’s roughly 17,500 museums, only a handful (6%) have earned this distinction. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public.
“We’re thrilled and honored to join such an elite group of accredited museums nationwide,” said Holly Smith-Bové, Museums President. “It opens up new opportunities for loans of art, funding, and international collaborations, while further underscoring our place as one of the region’s foremost cultural institutions.”
“Accreditation assures the people of Springfield that their museum consortium is among the finest in the nation,” said Ford W. Bell, president of the Alliance. “As a result, your community can take considerable pride in the Springfield Museums for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the region.”
Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation, an institution must first conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a thorough on-site review by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, then reviews and evaluates the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation.
Led by Vice President Kay Simpson, the administrative and curatorial staff at the Museums was involved in the extensive review process for over two years. In its final report, the Commission made note of the unique multi-disciplinary nature of the Springfield Museums campus, which encompasses history, science, art, and extensive educational programming. In particular, the Commission saluted the Museums for their “commitment to education, the dedication of its staff, and the supportive engagement of its board.”