A mark of excellence

The American Association of Museums (AAM), Washington, D.C., announced the New Bedford Whaling Museum has earned reaccreditation at the most recent meeting of the Accreditation Commission. Accredited status from AAM is the highest national recognition achievable by an American museum.

In its announcement, AAM stated that reaccreditation is awarded only after a comprehensive yearlong examination and peer review of all aspects of the Whaling Museum’s mission, operations and programming. “Accreditation is emblematic of many things, the highest standards in museum operations, outstanding public programs, and long-term sustainability among them,” said Ford W. Bell, AAM president. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement. But put simply, it means the citizens of the communities served by these museums have in their midst one of America’s finest museums.”

In her letter to museum president, James Russell, Dr. Bonnie W. Styles, Chair of the AAM Accreditation Commission, wrote “We found the museum to be a highly performing organization that has a solid strategic plan, excellent community engagement and is dealing strategically and realistically with budget hardships. We particularly liked the three-tier intern apprenticeship program. The museum is also a good example of merging history and science together in exhibits and programming.”

Mr. Russell noted the importance of reaccreditation. “We are extremely proud of this achievement. It validates years of hard work on the part of our dedicated trustees, volunteers and staff – evaluated against the strictest professional and national standards. This honor elevates all of New Bedford and the South Coast region, and it reenergizes us in the continued building of a greater, stronger Whaling Museum,” he said.

AAM Accreditation recognizes the highest standards in individual museums and ensures that museums continue to uphold their public trust. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 40 years, the AAM museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability.

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