Skip to content

Accreditation Commission

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.


Headshot of a woman with shoulder length brown hair smiling slightly at the camera head tilted slightly to the left.

Amy Bartow-Melia
Commission term: 2015-2019, Chair 2018-2020

Executive Director
South Carolina State Museum

Amy is the Executive Director of the South Carolina State Museum (SCSM) in Columbia, SC.  Located in an 1894 former textile mill listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places, the museum explores the diverse history of South Carolina through its art, cultural history, natural history, and science and technology collections and programs. Before joining the SCSM, Amy spent over twenty years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in a variety of leadership roles overseeing education, public programs, digital engagement, visitor services, exhibition interpretive planning and strategic initiatives, including co-leading the Museum’s 2020-2030 strategic planning process focused on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion (DEAI).  She has held leadership roles in EdCom, the Museum Education Roundtable, the National Council for History Education, and in efforts to inform museum standards and best practices and DEAI. She was also the founding director of two arts nonprofits – The London International Gallery of Children’s Art and Children’s’ International Art Outreach. Amy has a B.A. in Anthropology and Education from the College of William and Mary, a MAT in Museum Education from the George Washington University, and is a graduate of the Getty Museum Leadership Institute and the Smithsonian Leadership Development Program.


Rebekah Beaulieu photo

Rebekah (Becky) Beaulieu
Commission term: 2019-2023

Director
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.


A man smiles gently at the camera with grey hair and glasses wearing a white shirt and tie and dark suit jacket.James Gilson
Commission term: 2016-2020

Former Vice President and General Counsel
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Foundation

Jim retired from his position as Vice President & General Counsel of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Foundation in 2016. Over the course of his twenty-year tenure with the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Jim was engaged in many different aspects of its operation. In addition to his role as General Counsel, he oversaw human resources, government relations, insurance, and other administrative responsibilities for a large, public-private institution with three major facilities. He served as the Administrator of the La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum for over 15 years and of the William S. Hart Museum—a historic house museum—for over 10 years; and managed the “spin-off” of the Petersen Automotive Museum as an independent museum. Other responsibilities also included oversight of visitor services and acting head of Museum’s public programs/exhibits department. He managed the museum’s last two reaccreditation reviews and recently became a peer reviewer. He served on the California Association of Museums Board of Directors for seven years (2009 – 2015); and on the planning committee and panels for ALI-CLE “Legal Issues in Museum Administration.” Since his retirement from the Natural History Museum, he has accepted temporary administrative and legal positions at the National Gallery of Art and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Jim has a J.D. from the Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, an M.A. in Urban Studies from Occidental College, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.


Jill Hartz
Commission term: 2017-2021

Curator and Museum Consultant

Jill recently retired as the executive director of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene, a position she’s held since 2008. She was the director of the University of Virginia Art Museum (now Fralin Museum of Art) for a decade prior, and also worked at Cornell’s Johnson Museum in various capacities for ten years. During her career she has devoted a substantial amount of volunteer time to advance the professionalism, role, and visibility of academic museums, including having served on the board of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries for more than ten years, including two terms as president. She’s been an active MAP and Accreditation Peer Reviewer for more than twenty years; and taken three museums through the accreditation process. Jill is also a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and has a robust number of exhibitions, publications, and presentations to her credit. She also has a background in public relations and communications. Jill completed the Kellogg School of Management/AAMG Leadership Seminar in 2012 and 2014, offering sessions during both programs, and has a M.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of St. Andrews,Scotland.


Woman with short dark hair and pearl necklace stading in front on an archwayMarise McDermott
Commission term: 2020-2024

President and CEO
Witte Museum

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.


Evans Richardson photoEvans Richardson
Commission term: 2019-2023

Chief of Staff
The Studio Museum in Harlem

Evans Richardson IV serves as Chief of Staff at The Studio Museum in Harlem, where he has worked since 2012. He collaborates 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 has 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 New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) since 2015, Evans has helped amplify the consortium’s efforts to promote diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion throughout the City’s cultural sector. 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 black Atlanticism 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 and has been a resident of Harlem for over 20 years.


Headshot of a man smiling a thte camera wearing a blue button down shirt and red tie with dark suit.

C.J. Roberts
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.


Woman with blonde hair in a grey suit standing with her arms crossedMelissa Russo
Commission term: 2020-2024

Director
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).


Todd Smith
Commission term: 2016-2020

Executive Director
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Prior to joining the Bechtler in September 2020, Todd served as Director and CEO of the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, CA. Risk taking and progressive thinking at times of significant transformation have defined Todd’s twenty-plus years an art museum executive. He specializes in stepping in to organizations at moments of great transformation—whether they be programmatic, fiscal, or capital—and shaping these institutions into highly functioning nonprofits. Prior to taking his position with the Orange County Museum of Art in 2014, he served as chief executive at the Tampa Museum of Art, the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Knoxville Museum of Art, and the Plains Art Museum. He also has significant curatorial experience in the fields of American and contemporary art. Todd has successfully led one museum through the initial accreditation process and three through the reaccreditation process and is an active AAM peer reviewer, having served on over a dozen accreditation and MAP site visits. He has twice served the annual meeting National Program Committee and is a grants reviewer for IMLS and various state arts councils. Todd is also a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors (since 2009). He has an A.B from Duke University, an M.A. in the History of Art from Indiana University and is a graduate of the Getty Center Museum Management Institute.

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add communications@aam-us.org to your safe sender list.