IMLS Announces Effort to Strengthen State Museum Associations

Association leaders to convene March 28 and 29 in Bentonville, Arkansas

Washington, DC— The American Alliance of Museums, working in cooperation with IMLS, will explore capacity-building strategies for state museum associations to better serve local museums.

Throughout the United States, 45 museum associations help museums in their states to provide lifelong learning experiences and preserve and interpret cultural, artistic, and scientific heritage. For many museums, especially for small museums and museums in remote areas, these state museum associations play a significant role in providing technical assistance, professional development opportunities and more.

While they face similar challenges and opportunities, state museum associations operate with a variety of governance structures and typically have small budgets and limited opportunities for networking and information sharing as a group. IMLS and AAM will host a national meeting for state museum associations to assess their needs and develop capacity-building strategies.

Susan H. Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, says the purpose of the initiative is to “share, explore and identify the characteristics of a successful, sustainable state museum association and the barriers to success and sustainability.”

“The state museum associations play a key role in reaching and engaging museums in all corners of our country,” said American Alliance of Museums President Ford W. Bell. “This convening of state museum association leaders will provide an important forum for the museum field to determine how it can work collaboratively to reach—and serve—all museums.”

Leadership from the nation’s state museum associations will be invited to share the unique stories of their organization’s history, organizational structure, operations and overall approach to serving their constituencies. The convening will take place March 28 and 29, 2014, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The results of the two-day convening will be shared with all state, regional, and national museum associations in order to help support a strategic approach to better supporting museum professionals.

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and championing the value of museums as educational providers, economic engines, stewards of important collections, and community anchors. The Alliance 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

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact

Dewey Blanton
Alliance Communications