Museum of Northern Arizona exterior


Alliance_memberThe Museum of Northern Arizona is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. MNA was originally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 1973 and most recently in 2008.

What is the American Alliance of Museums?
The AAM has been serving the museum community and its public for nearly one hundred years. In its own words (from page iii of A Higher Standard: The Museum Accreditation Handbook, AAM, 2005), the American Association of Museums:

“…is dedicated to promoting excellence within the museum community. Through advocacy, professional education, accreditation, and guidance on how to achieve current professional standards of performance, AAM helps museum staffs, boards, and volunteers across the country serve the public.”

To learn more about the AAM, visit their website:; write to AAM, 1575 Eye St. N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005 or call them at (202) 289-1818.

What is AAM Accreditation?
AAM has run its accreditation program since 1971.Relatively few museums (approximately 5 percent) have achieved this nationally recognized rigorous standard. Run by museum professionals who apply their knowledge of the field to developing and overseeing the program, AAM accreditation reflects best practices in the museum field. A museum that receives AAM accreditation follows modern museum standards, pursues ethical practices, and is continually assessing itself to be sure that it improves and continues to serve its mission and its public. AAM accreditation is not a lifetime award but must be reassessed about every ten years.

What is the value of AAM Accreditation?
By participating in the AAM accreditation process the MNA assesses itself as to its level of professional museum standards, scope and quality of its institutional plan, integration of its activities with its stated mission, and involves itself in open dialog with its governing body, staff, and interested public. The nearly 35 years of AAM involvement in accrediting museums has resulted in the following list of benefits of accreditation (from: A Higher Standard: The Museum Accreditation Handbook, p. 23).

Credibility and Accountability
• National recognition of a museum’s commitment to excellence and the highest professional standards of museum operation and public service
• Positive public image and validation of a museum’s work and accomplishments
• Increased credibility with funding agencies and donors
• Demonstration of fulfilling the museum’s obligation to the public trust

Clearer Sense of Purpose
• Clearer understanding among the governing authority, staff, and stakeholders of a museum’s mission, strengths, goals, and priorities
• Reflection by staff and board on how they do their work

Leverage and Support
• A valuable tool in lobbying local and state governments
• Improved relationships with other museums resulting in more loans and traveling exhibitions
• A way to leverage support for capital improvements

Sustainability and a Stronger Institution
• Fostering of sustained organizational development and improvement
• A governing authority that is better educated about museum standards
• Increased level of professionalism