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Diversity, Equity To Become Required for Museum Accreditation, Standards

Category: Press Release

For Immediate Release

Arlington, VA – The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, today announced a multi-year initiative to transform the standards that guide best practices and accreditation for museums. New requirements will focus on including diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) practices that are critical for the future vitality and sustainability of the museum field and essential to meet the evolving needs of the public.

Over the next three years, AAM will achieve a milestone by making what will be the first update to field-wide standards in twenty years. “Embedding DEAI more explicitly into the standards and ethics for 35,000 museums, and requirements for accreditation, is a watershed moment in our field’s history,” said Laura Lott, AAM President and CEO. “Serving as our guide is our recently released Excellence in DEAI report which lays the groundwork for a common set of Core Concepts and Key Indicators of museum excellence in DEAI.” The Excellence in DEAI report issued earlier this summer was a result of the work of the AAM DEAI Task Force and guided by former Senior Director of Equity and Culture, Andrew Plumley.

This work is supported by a prestigious three-year National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This announcement and funding follow the culmination of Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity and Inclusion, AAM’s unprecedented national initiative to foster more diverse and inclusive museum boards launched. Building on decades of DEAI work in the museum field, AAM has continuously made DEAI a strategic priority since 2015, reaffirming this commitment to DEAI and anti-racism in its 2022-2025 Strategic Framework. The progress of AAM’s DEAI work and the Excellence in DEAI report would not be possible without the unwavering commitment and contributions of the many people of color working to advance DEAI, the Alliance’s DEAI Task Force, DEAI Working Group, Facing Change Senior Diversity Fellows, the board of trustees, Accreditation Commission, AAM staff, and many of our partners and members within and outside of the museum field.

AAM will be engaging partners, allies, and experts across the museum field in this work in an effort to create more equitable outcomes in all aspects of museum structures and programming. Renowned museum leader and social justice advocate, Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, is joining the Alliance as a Senior Diversity Fellow in AAM’s next steps. “Our collective efforts in progressing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion work in the museum field have evolved for years,” said Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole. “But there is so much more work to be done, and I am delighted to join AAM in the next iteration of that work. AAM’s commitment to embedding DEAI into standards for museums reinforces that to be an excellent museum, one must be committed to DEAI.”

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) is the only organization representing the entire museum field, from art and history museums to science centers and zoos. Since 1906, we have been championing museums through advocacy and providing museum professionals with the resources, knowledge, inspiration, and connections they need to move the field forward.


Press Contact:

Natanya Khashan

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