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Eligibility for the Museum Assessment Program

Is my museum eligible to participate in MAP?

All types of general and specialized museums are eligible for MAP.

To participate in MAP (any Assessment type), a museum must:

  • be organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes;
  • care for, and own or use, tangible objects, whether animate or inanimate, and make them available to the general public through exhibition and/or research on a regular basis at facilities it owns or operates
  • be a unit of state, local, or tribal government; or a private nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code.
  • have at least one professional staff member or the full-time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, whose responsibilities relate solely to the museum’s operations
  • be open and providing museum services to the general public on a regular basis (a museum that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 90 days a year fulfills this requirement). If a museum is not scheduled to be open to the public 90 days a year, it is still eligible to participate in MAP if it can demonstrate that it was open at least 90 days in the preceding year through a combination of scheduled days open and days open by appointment; travelling exhibits, digital exhibits and access to online collections may also be considered.
  • be located in one of the fifty states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and
  • not be operated by the U.S. federal government. (If your museum is a federal institution, contact the MAP staff to discuss how it can still participate in MAP on a fee-for-service basis.)
“The Museum Assessment Program helped our small tribal museum with the positive recommendations to implement short and long-term goals for the betterment of visitor services and collections management.  The assigned Peer Reviewer was a perfect match with her prior work experience and extensive knowledge of museum standards.  The MAP has allowed us the information to develop a strategic plan that is realistic and helps us to work on continual improvement.  We are very thankful for the assessment program and the added value it provides. Most significantly, the Pyramid Lake Museum was nominated for the 2019 National Medal for Museums, which is a credit to the assessment work.”

Billie Jean Guerrero, Museum Director, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center, NV.

Assessment-specific Eligibility Issues

In addition to these main criteria, there are some assessment-specific eligibility requirements (and recommended pre-requisites) for the following Assessments. Click for full details:

Collections Stewardship

Community & Audience Engagement

Education & Interpretation

Board Leadership

Museums with Parent Organizations

Museums that operate within a non-federal parent organization are eligible to apply and participate in MAP. A museum operated within a multi-purpose public or private nonprofit organization such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center may apply if it:

Museums that operate within a non-federal parent organization are eligible to apply and participate in MAP. A museum operated within a multi-purpose public or private nonprofit organization such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center may apply on its own behalf if it:

  • is able to independently fulfill all the requirements for eligibility listed above
  • is an identifiably discrete unit within the parent organization
  • has the authority to function and operate autonomously within the parent organization

When any of the eligibility criteria cannot be met, a museum may apply through its eligible parent organization, and the parent organization may apply(s) for one or more of its museums.

Is my museum eligible to do MAP again?

Yes! You can do a different assessment type or repeat one.

A different assessment: Museums are eligible to apply at any time.

Repeating the same assessment type: Museums are eligible to participate again in the same type of assessment when seven years have passed since the original assessment.

All applicants that have done a MAP previously are asked to demonstrate their accomplishments since their last assessment and explain why they are seeking a new assessment.

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