FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, March 19, 2018—The American Alliance of Museums has announced that the Whatcom Museum has earned reaccreditation by the Alliance’s Accreditation Commission. Only three percent of museums in the United States are accredited by the Alliance. Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, 1,070 are currently accredited.
Through a rigorous process of self-assessment and review by industry peers, the Whatcom Museum has demonstrated it has met standards and best practices set by the Alliance, and shown itself to be a good steward of the collections and resources it holds in the public trust, as well as a core educational entity for the community and beyond.
“The Whatcom Museum was last reaccredited long before the construction of the Lightcatcher building, and many practices and policies were in need of being updated to today’s standards,” said Executive Director Patricia Leach. “We have been working for several years to prepare for this, and our professional staff and board have worked intensely in the past year to complete our self-study. So much work is invisible to the public, but what is evident is the result of that hard work in the many new permanent exhibitions at Old City Hall, as well as the ‘People of the Sea and Cedar’ exhibition in the Lightcatcher. It is both an honor and a relief that we have achieved this status.”
As the ultimate mark of distinction in the museum field, accreditation signifies excellence and credibility to the entire museum community, to governments and outside agencies, and to the museum-going public. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for more than 45 years, the museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability. Accreditation 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 behavior.
“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura Lott, Alliance president and CEO. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”
To earn accreditation the Whatcom Museum submitted an extensive Self-Study and key operational documents for evaluation in 2017. Last November, a two-person team of peer reviewers conducted a site visit to further evaluate the Museum’s practices. The Accreditation Commission considered the results to determine whether the Whatcom Museum should receive reaccreditation, and the Commission just announced that the Museum has earned reaccreditation. The Whatcom Museum was last reaccredited by the Alliance in 2003.
About the American Alliance of Museums
The American Alliance 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. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.