POSTED: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 1:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 1:04am
Baton Rouge, La — The Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM) has again achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders and to the museum-going public. AAM began accrediting museums in 1971, and LASM was initially accredited the following year in 1972. It has now been accredited four times.
AAM Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely and remain financially and ethically accountable ─ all in order to provide the best possible service to the public.
“AAM continually strives to help museums perform at the highest possible professional and ethical levels by setting the bar higher for attaining each new re-accreditation,” LASM president and executive director Carol Gikas stated. “The big achievement for LASM this time was the year-long study and creation of an interpretive plan, which for us is intended to be a comprehensive, mission-based, structural vision that guides decision-making throughout the institution.”
Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, only 775 – fewer than 5% - have achieved accreditation status. There are 139 museums in Louisiana, and LASM is one of only 12 to be accredited by AAM.
Accreditation is a very rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation, a museum must conduct multiple years of self-study and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and self-governing body of museum professionals, considers the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes as much 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 Louisiana can take great pride in the fact that their local institution is one of America’s premier museums.”