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Evans Richardson IV Named Accreditation Commission Chair as the Program Enters its 50th Year

Category: Press Release
headshots of Amy Bartow Melia and Evans Richardson IV under the headline "Announcing the Next AAM Accreditation Commission Chair!"

October 27, 2020

ARLINGTON, VA – The Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), Chevy Humphrey, has announced today the appointment of Evans Richardson IV, Chief of Staff at The Studio Museum in Harlem, as the next chair of the AAM Accreditation Commission. Accreditation is the museum industry’s mark of distinction and offers peer-based validation of a museum’s operations and impact.

Richardson has served on the Commission since 2019, and will begin his three-year term as chair on January 1, 2021, succeeding Amy Bartow-Melia.

“The Accreditation Commission’s mission, to nurture and celebrate the excellence of our country’s museums, was immeasurably strengthened under Amy’s leadership and I have been deeply grateful to serve on the Commission during her tenure,” said Richardson. “As Chair, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Commission to support a diverse and growing coalition of museums taking bold steps to become the inclusive and accessible institutions our communities deserve. In this new capacity, I am also honored to represent The Studio Museum in Harlem as it was the nation’s first Black institution to receive accreditation in 1987.”

“Over my six years with the AAM Accreditation Commission, I have been honored to work with such a talented group of Commission colleagues and AAM staff, dedicated to serving and advancing our field,” said Bartow-Melia, outgoing chair and Executive Director of the South Carolina State Museum. “I am proud of the work that the Commission has done to support AAM’s Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion (DEAI) efforts by building DEAI values into all aspects of the Accreditation process, from institutional self-study, to site visits, to the Commission’s decision-making. I look forward to seeing these efforts continue under Evans’ strong leadership and AAM’s continued commitment to this important work.”

The Accreditation Commission is the body responsible for making independent decisions regarding the accredited status of museums. It meets three times per year and is made up of museum professionals that collectively bring a wide range of experience and expertise in the museum field. Commissioners serve in a volunteer capacity. Learn more about Evans Richardson IV and the other Accreditation Commissioners here.

The AAM Board chair appoints the Commission chair usually from among the existing members. To be on the Accreditation Commission, individuals self-nominate and are appointed by the AAM Board Chair based on recommendations from a nominating committee comprised of representatives from the Board, Accreditation Commission, and selected discipline-specific museums associations.

“I am grateful for Amy’s excellent leadership of the Commission over the past three years and am looking forward to having Evans at the helm to continue the program’s advancement and ensure its relevancy amidst a time of great change and challenge in the museum field,” said Laura Lott, AAM President and CEO. “This is also an important moment in the Accreditation program’s history. Evans is the first African American to chair the Accreditation Commission and assumes his role as the program reaches its 50th anniversary.”


About the Accreditation Program

Established in 1971, and as the flagship program of the Continuum of Excellence, the Accreditation Program is one of the Alliance’s most important mechanisms for unifying the field around a shared set of standards and ethical principles.

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 providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit



Press Contact:

Natanya Khashan
Director, Marketing & Communications

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