The Alliance and AASLH Sign Statement of Collaboration Around Standards and Excellence Programs

Nov. 5, 2012—An agreement of collaboration recently signed by the American Alliance of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History connects the two organizations’ respective excellence programs and standards, including the Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs), the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) and the Accreditation program. 

“A widely recognized, credible universal commitment to high standards and best practices is essential to forging a truly unified, impactful museum field. It will also help us better connect with governments, foundations, corporations and the public,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell.

“AASLH is very excited about the alignment being developed between its StEPs program and AAM’s MAP and, eventually, Accreditation programs” said Terry Davis, AASLH President & CEO. “Both organizations are committed to increasing the awareness of national museum standards and helping museums of all sizes to begin meeting those standards. Our two organizations work in concert on advocacy issues, and I’m delighted to add standards as yet another area of collaboration.”

The agreement is a key element in the Continuum of Excellence—a collaborative, inclusive and accessible framework of standards-based programs and resources from across the field that supports, motivates, and recognizes museums in their efforts to professionalize and operate according to standards and best practices.

Currently, history museums and historic sites account for 22 percent of accredited museums and about 40 percent of MAP participants. StEPs boasts 410 museum enrollees. Until now museums were not able to build on what they’d already accomplished from one program to the next. For example, the agreement enables StEPs participants that have achieved all of the “Basic” performance indicators and at least 50 percent of the “Good” in each of its six program sections to have a streamlined self-assessment portion of the MAP process, paring it down by about 50 percent.

This agreement is also integral to the ongoing re-invention of the Alliance accreditation program—to make it more accessible and relevant to museums of all types and sizes. AASLH and the Alliance will begin exploring a StEPs-Accreditation streamlining and building-block approach similar to that devised for MAP; and creating opportunities for AASLH to inform and customize the accreditation self-study to make it more relevant to history organizations, as well as to shape representation of the history field perspective on the Accreditation Commission.

For more information on the Continuum of Excellence, Accreditation and MAP visit, To learn more about AASLH and its StEPs program, visit

Media Contact

Dewey Blanton
Alliance Communications