The Accreditation Commission is the body responsible for making independent decisions regarding a museum’s accredited status. It meets three times per year and is made up of museum professionals whose collective experience and expertise represent the range of diversity in the museum field.
Commissioners have significant leadership level experience, have an understanding of a wide range of museum operations, have experience with accreditation, and demonstrate a commitment to standards and building excellence across the field. Commissioners serve in a volunteer capacity for a five-year term. See the position description to learn more.
Commission term: 2019-2023; Chair 2021-2023
Independent Museum Professional
Evans Richardson IV was previously Chief of Staff at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2012-2021). There he collaborated closely with the Director and Chief Curator, the Board of Trustees and teams from across the institution to develop and implement the Museum’s strategic initiatives, cultivate relationships with community stakeholders and institutional partners, and direct all aspects of municipal and state lobbying and advocacy. Evans helped manage the planning, launch and ongoing execution of a $175 million capital campaign to support the creation of a new home and expanded operations for the Museum. Through his active engagement with numerous local and national coalitions, Evans has helped amplify efforts to promote diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion throughout the field. Prior to arriving at the Studio Museum, Evans was a Program Specialist at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), a role that connected him with over 100 non-profit cultural organizations throughout the City’s five boroughs. Evans’ interest in the history of the black Atlantic and culturally-specific institutions began during his undergraduate studies at Columbia University and continued through his graduate work at Yale University, where he was awarded a Mellon Mays Predoctoral Research Grant and a joint master’s degree in English Literature and African American Studies. Evans was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri.
Rebekah (Becky) Beaulieu
Commission term: 2019-2023
Florence Griswold Museum
Becky is the Director of Florence Griswold Museum, which is comprised of art galleries, a National Landmark historic house, and 13-acres of gardens and grounds in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Prior to taking this role in February 2018 she spent four years at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art as the Assistant Director of Museum Operations then Associate Director, where she managed all administrative activities including staffing, finances, communications, visitor experience, and operations; and played an important role in expanding the number of exhibitions and programs offered and broadening access to the museum and its collections. She also served as the first Executive Director of the Winchester Historical Society (MA), where she managed operations for the Society and its cultural site, the Sanborn House Historical and Cultural Center. For the Alliance she is an active Accreditation/MAP Peer Reviewer and board member for the Historic Houses and Sites Professional Network. She is also on the boards of the New England Museum Association and Connecticut Humanities, on the faculty of AASLH’s History Leadership Institute, and a Peer Reviewer for the IMLS and NEH. Becky is the author of Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums (2017). She holds an M.A in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and in Arts Administration from Columbia University; she earned her Ph.D. in American and New England Studies at Boston University.
Commission term: 2020-2024
President and CEO
Marise McDermott has 30 years of experience in museums and cultural arts in roles ranging from director to curator to editor and journalist to board chair. Since 2004 she has been the President and CEO of the Witte Museum. Her other roles at the Witte have included Vice President of Strategic Planning and Director of Humanities and Science Center. She also served as the Executive Director of The History Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for three years; and was the editor of the Texas Committee for the Humanities’ bi-monthly magazine. Marise recently oversaw the successful $100 million transformation of the museum and campus expansion and is now engaged in its $100 million endowment campaign. The Witte is also a participant in the Facing Change: Museum Board Diversity and Inclusion cohort of museums. She is a long-time Accreditation Peer Reviewer who has done numerous site visits and oversaw the Witte’s last two reaccreditation processes. She is actively engaged in several San Antonio tourism boards, including Visit San Antonio, San Antonio Visitor Alliance, and the Chamber of Commerce, among other community leadership roles. And she is engaged with TAM in a variety of ways and been speaker at a number of regional and discipline-specific conferences. Marise is the recipient of many local and state awards. She was named 2013 Executive Woman of the Year by the San Antonio Greater Chamber of Commerce; the 2015 Texas Patriot Award by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Alamo Mission Chapter; Texas State University Liberal Arts Alumni of the Year in 2016; and the 2017 Business Person of the Year by the San Antonio Business Journal. She holds a M.F.A in cultural narratives from Texas State University and B.A. from Queens College, City University of New York.
Commission term: 2018-2022
Frank E. Duckwall President & CEO
Tampa Bay History Center
C.J. has served as the President and CEO of the Tampa Bay History Center since September of 2005. He led all facets of the planning, construction, and opening of the museum, which welcomed its first visitors in January of 2009, and went on to lead the museum successfully through its first accreditation review. Prior to assuming his role with the Tampa Bay History Center, he was the President and CEO of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Savannah, Georgia; led the team that built and opened The National World War II Museum in New Orleans; and served as Director of the George C. Marshall Museum at the Virginia Military Institute. C.J. has actively served as an Accreditation and MAP Peer Review reviewer for more than a decade and a grants reviewer for IMLS and the State of Florida Department of Cultural Affairs. He has taken an active role on the boards of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, and as a member of the University of South Florida’s Florida Studies Center Advisory Council and the CEO Council of Tampa Bay. He received his B.A. in History and Folklore and an M.L.S. from Indiana University, and he is a graduate of the Getty Museum Management Institute, the Seminar for Historical Administration and Leadership Tampa.
Commission term: 2020-2024
San Bernardino County Museum
Melissa Russo brings over two decades of executive level experience successfully managing both government and private nonprofit museums, along with diverse nonprofit board leadership experience in social services, education, public policy, and the arts. She is experienced in strategic planning, program planning and execution, fundraising, external relations, and non-profit policy and legal issues, and has a demonstrated talent for building partnerships and revenue generation opportunities. Melissa has been the director of the San Bernardino County Museum since 2015, and oversaw its recent successful reaccreditation process. She is the museum’s first female director. Prior to this, she was the Director of Institutional Advancement at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, CA for seven years; and Executive Director of the Western Museums Association for ten. Along the way she also served as adjunct Museum Studies faculty at the John F. Kennedy University, participated on museum leadership search committees, and developed temporary exhibitions. She began her museum career as the Registrar at the Glessner House Museum in Chicago and went on to be the Executive Director of the Pardee Home Foundation and Museum in Oakland. Before entering the museum field, Melissa spent several years in the banking industry. Over her career Melissa has been highly active in the museum field at-large. She is a prolific speaker at local, regional, and national conferences, as well as a regular author for museum publications, on a wide range of practical topics and contemporary issues. She is an AAM Accreditation Peer Reviewer and IMLS, grant reviewer; and has served on AAM’s National Program Committee. Melissa has a M.A. in Art History from the University of Illinois, Chicago and a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and a Credentialed California County Senior Executive by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).