Accreditation and Excellence in DEAI

The findings and recommendations in Excellence In DEAI–a report from AAM’s Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion initiative–will directly impact the Accreditation Program and Core Standards in the future.

The report reflects the thoughtful work of the Excellence in DEAI Task Force, comprised of museum leaders with both expertise and experience with Accreditation and Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI), with input from the museum field. The Task Force was charged with developing recommendations to embed DEAI more deeply into museum standards and AAM excellence programs.

The report is a guidepost for AAM and the Accreditation Commission to determine how, when, and what changes should be made to ethics, standards, and future accreditation reviews—including the Self-Study Questionnaire and Site Visit Report Form—and how those changes should be phased. As we review all aspects of the program through the lens of DEAI, we will also focus on the need to provide Peer Reviewers and Accreditation Commissioners with the training and tools they need to carry out their roles during the site visit and decision-making process.

There will not be an immediate application of all of the report’s Core Concepts and Key Indicators into the standards and program. Just as DEAI work in museums takes time, the report findings and recommendations will be embedded and adapted over time and in stages. We will continue to involve the voices of accreditation participants and peer reviewers and ensure we allow time for museums to absorb and begin taking actions best suited for their unique circumstances.

AAM will start with reviewing and revising the AAM Code of Ethics for Museums over the next 24 months. This work will be informed by the Task Force’s recommendation that the code needs to address issues associated with the individuals who work or volunteer for the institution, such as wage equity and organizational culture; contemporary ethical issues related to collections stewardship; and environmental implications of sustainability.

These are complex and important changes and will be made in partnership with the field over the next several years, using this report as our roadmap.

As things progress, we will keep you updated, including specific opportunities to provide input. In the coming months, Senior DEAI Fellow, Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, will host a series of virtual conversations on the Excellence in DEAI report, and any feedback and input from the field. More information on this is coming soon.

If you would like to provide feedback, additional relevant resources, or examples of your organization’s DEAI work, please share with us using this form.

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