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Core Documents Verification

Core Documents Verification is a document review and recognition program that revolves around the evaluation of five core documents against a set of required elements.

It is not a consultation service, nor a program to teach institutions how to craft their core documents. Instead, completion of the program provides public confirmation that the institution has an educational mission and policies and plans in place that reflect professional practices of museums, as articulated in the Core Standards and used in the Accreditation Program.

Core Documents Verification is a prerequisite for those museums seeking accreditation for the first time.

What are the Core Documents?

The following five documents have been designated as core documents because they are fundamental for basic professional museum operations and embody core museum values:

Each document has a set of required elements associated with it. Learn more about the core documents.

Why participate?

  • Get feedback on your museum’s core policies and plans
  • Be recognized for achieving a high level of professionalism
  • Required prerequisite for first-time accreditation
  • Use as an accountability tool for keeping your policies up to date
  • Contribute to field-wide advocacy efforts by sending a strong message to the public and policymakers that the museum field is committed to shared standards and ethics

How does it work?

Use the resources available to develop, strengthen, and review your Core Documents. Once the core documents are complete, approved and fully in line with the required elements, use the online application to upload a minimum of two documents to start (the mission statement being one of those). Answer a few questions about eligibility and demographics, and pay the fee.

Alliance staff will evaluate the documents against the required elements and send you the results of their review in 4-6 weeks. The expectation is for your documents to be verifiable at the initial review, but it is rare that all five documents pass Core Documents Verification right away. Evaluation and revision take time.

Once all five documents have been submitted and judged to meet the requirements, Alliance staff will notify the museum that its Core Documents have been verified. The museum will receive a certificate and be included on the list of Core Documents Verified museums.

If a museum fails to complete the program within three years of its initial submission, it must reapply and resubmit payment. The Core Documents Verification designation is valid for five years, at which point the museum will need to either become accredited, or reverify its documents.

Learn more about the eligibility criteria, verification process, associated costs, and resources available to help your museum develop its Core Documents.

What to expect?

Thinking of the five core documents as a monolithic block can be overwhelming. But if you work with just one document at a time, the task is manageable. Read about how small museums can handle core documents verification here.

Wonder what to expect from the Core Documents Verification Process? Read about the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego’s successful experience and get their top tips for making it a smooth process here.

Also, check out the Mastering Your Museum’s Core Documents Toolkit, available for purchase!

How does it connect to Accreditation?

Successfully completing the Core Documents Verification program is a required prerequisite for museums seeking Accreditation for the first time. We strongly recommend starting this program 6 to 9 months prior to any Accreditation application deadline the museum intends to meet.  Core Documents Verification streamlines the museum’s initial accreditation process by eliminating the need to resubmit the same documents if the documents remain current.

Accredited museums do not need to particpate-their Core Documents get verified as part of each reaccreditation review.

How much does it cost?

The museum pays a one-time fee based on its AAM membership status when it submits its application. The full cost is charged regardless of how many documents are initially submitted. If the museum does not move on to Accreditation, another fee is assessed at the five year renewal.

Fees are nonrefundable. Visit the Costs page for full details.

Apply for Core Documents Verification

Access the form for Core Documents Verification and apply today.


Contact Accreditation & Core Documents Verification, (202) 289-9116

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