The Alliance at One Year

Steady Progress Results From AAM Name, Brand, Membership Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 5, 2013)—A year ago today, AAM—the largest museum service organization in the country—instituted dramatic change. One year after AAM changed its name, logo, membership structure and organizational priorities, the returns are overwhelmingly positive, thanks to the enthusiastic support of the U.S. museum field.

Since the organization made “Alliance” its middle name last September 5th, dropping “Association,” the 107-year old organization has recorded the following results:

  • More than 1,000 museums have become new members of the Alliance;
  • Nearly 4,000 individuals have joined AAM through the All-Staff packages purchased by their institutions, providing free memberships to all museum staff;
  • More than 1,500 museums have signed the Pledge of Excellence, the starting point for the Continuum of Excellence, also launched one year ago.
“The growth in AAM’s membership—among both museums and individuals—confirms that the museum field was looking for us to change, to make membership more accessible and of more value, to concentrate even more on making the case for museums and providing programs focused on excellence that will not only make museums better but also help museum professionals do their jobs better,” said Alliance president Ford W. Bell. “This first year has produced the kind of results we were hoping to achieve, and we are confident additional growth and enhanced service to the field will follow in the years ahead.”

In September 2012 AAM announced a new, streamlined membership structure, rooted in three tiers. Benefits are linked to the level of commitment that fits the institution’s budget and needs. Moreover, Tier 1 is literally “pay what you can,” enabling any museum—no matter how small—to join AAM and the field in support of our shared cause.

But increased membership is only a means to an end—the end being to unite the fragmented museum field so that museums will have more impact, at all levels of government and to ensure that a strong museum field will be “at the table” when state and federal budgets are being developed.

Strength in numbers is an old adage, and it still holds true. As evidence, note the record number of Members of Congress who responded to the Alliance membership’s advocacy efforts this spring by endorsing increased funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

In addition, the Continuum of Excellence—which also debuted last September—has made programs such as accreditation more accessible. Its starting point is the Pledge of Excellence, a simple means of communicating a museum’s commitment to the highest standards of the field, to all key stakeholders. In addition, the Continuum has forged collaborations with other discipline-specific excellence programs, such as AASLH’s StEPS and CAP programs and the AZA’s accreditation program, promoting shared standards and reducing duplication among these assessment programs.

For more information on Alliance membership, advocacy initiatives and the Continuum of Excellence, please visit the improved AAM website (also launched last September):

Media Contact

Dewey Blanton
Alliance Communications