August 12, 2012
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Cincinnati Museum Center Receives Highest National Recognition
Awarded Accreditation from the American Association of Museums
CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) has 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.
AAM Accreditation is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability, and earns national recognition for a museum for its commitment to excellence in all that it does: governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM’s Museum Accreditation program strengthens the profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely and to provide the best possible service to the public.
"Cincinnati has much to be proud of this summer, from gaining international spotlight during the World Choir Games to our first place Cincinnati Reds, and I am pleased to add more to this summer of celebration," said Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of Museum Center. "It is an honor for CMC to be looked up to as a leader in the field. This distinction, coupled with the National Medal for Museum and Library Services, is a tribute to our staff, trustees, donors, members, volunteers and community partners whose unwavering dedication to our mission and innovative efforts has made us a unique asset and a vital community resource."
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. Further distinguishing CMC as a top cultural and educational institution is the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, awarded to Museum Center in 2009. This annual award, made by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) since 1994, recognizes institutions for outstanding social, educational, environmental, or economic contributions to their communities. Cincinnati Museum Center is one of only 16 honored with both the IMLS award as well as AAM Accreditation.
"Accreditation assures the people of Cincinnati that their museum is among the finest in the nation," said Ford W. Bell, president of AAM. "As a result, the citizens can take considerable pride in their homegrown institution, for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community."
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, CMC’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 CMC’s outstanding efforts to preserve historic Union Terminal and the collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
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The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional, and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.
About Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution as well as national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, Museum Center was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Our Union Terminal has been voted the nation’s 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within Cincinnati Museum Center include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library. Recognized by Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, Cincinnati Museum Center welcomes one million plus visitors annually. Cincinnati Museum Center gratefully acknowledges operating and capital support from the taxpayers of Hamilton County and the State of Ohio. For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org.