Awards and Recognitions

National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Past Recipient National Medal for Museum and Library ServiceOur role in shaping our community was recognized nationally by the Institute of Museum and Library Services as a 2009-10 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. We were nominated locally by long-time community leader William Mallory, Sr., with letters of support from parent and Museum Center member Margaret O’Donoghue and public school teacher, Marie T. Dornbusch.

We were excited to receive this national award in Washington, D.C. and were honored that Faith Anne Brown, one of our Youth Program graduates could help us accept it. Faith Anne developed her sense of leadership by working with our visitors, digging for dinosaur bones in Montana, sharing life experiences with other Cincinnati area teens in our youth development program. She is now a graduate of St. Ursula Academy and Howard University with an honors degree in chemistry, and is in the process of earning a Master of Public Health. 

This prestigious honor (the Oscar®, Emmy® or Pulitzer® of the museum world) is awarded to outstanding museums and libraries that make exceptional contributions to their communities, and demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service, inclusiveness and community outreach. We are pleased to share this honor locally with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, which received the award in 2013.

In 2014, the Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its National Medal for Museum and Library Service program. To mark this 20-year milestone, IMLS will spotlight previous winning institutions through a special Share Your Story Facebook campaign. Visit www.facebook.com/USIMLS to view and to share your own stories and learn more about the 20th anniversary celebration here.

American Association of Museums Accreditation

In August 2012, Cincinnati Museum Center achieved accreditation from the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies and to the museum-going public. Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, 778 (only 4.5%) are currently accredited. Cincinnati Museum Center is one of 26 museums accredited in Ohio and joins the Cincinnati Art Museum, Taft Museum of Art and Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden as accredited institutions in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Museum Center is one of only 16 institutions nationally honored with both the IMLS award as well as AAM Accreditation.

Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, review and evaluate 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 three years. Museums are not required to apply for accreditation; the process is completely self-motivated to be sure one is operating at the highest possible level.

Cincinnati Museum Center was applauded for being a well-organized and well-run museum, with deep roots within the community and dedicated stakeholders (trustees, management, staff and volunteers). Specifically, Museum Center's Youth Programs and annual Learning Through Play conference were noted to serve as national models of working with at-risk students and engagement with parents, respectively. Additionally, the Accreditation Commission was impressed with Museum Center's outstanding efforts to preserve historic Union Terminal and the collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.