TACOMA, WA – The Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) has again achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public. All museums must undergo a reaccreditation review at least every 10 years to maintain accredited status; WSHS has been accredited since 2004. Approximately 22 percent of history museums are accredited.
Alliance Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. The Alliance’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 in order to provide the best possible service to the public.
“We are proud to be an accredited institution. Going through the reaccreditation process ensures we continue to put our best foot forward and meet or exceed standards for best practices in everything from collections storage to visitor services. We’re honored to provide excellent service to citizens and visitors in Washington through the History Museum in Tacoma and the Society’s other programs,” said WSHS Director Jennifer Kilmer.
Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, over 1070 are currently accredited.
Accreditation is a very rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, considers the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation.
“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura L. 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.”
Washington State Historical Society’s most visible activity, the Washington State History Museum is located in Tacoma’s downtown core along Pacific Avenue and is part of a thriving cultural scene. The museum features interactive permanent exhibits in the Great Hall, unique changing exhibitions highlighting the Society’s collections, and dynamic traveling exhibitions. Upcoming highlights include the annual Model Train Festival,followed by Unlocking McNeil’s Past: The Prison, The Place, The Peopleand A Thousand Words Worth: Washington Writers Tell Stories with Objects, created by WSHS. A New Moon Rises, a Smithsonian traveling exhibition, will open during summer 2019.