MAP Process and Timeline

In order for your museum to benefit from MAP, the year-long process needs to be an institutional priority. Committing to MAP includes:

  • Meeting deadlines
  • Involving the staff and governing authority for the duration of the process
  • Engaging the museum’s internal and external communities
  • Evaluating the process
  • Being transparent, communicative, and candid with each other, the MAP staff, and the Peer Reviewer
“Participating in MAP assessments has been incredibly rewarding for our staff. We made an effort to examine our work, ask and answer the hard questions about if what we are doing was what our community needed, and, when asked to change, do so.”

Rachel Goldberg, Programs Coordinator, Manassas Museum


The MAP process consists of:

  • Submitting an online application
  • Completing a MAP Workbook and activities as a team throughout the year
  • Using an online portal with narrated presentations and resources
  • Undergoing a site visit (approximately 2 days)
  • Taking actions steps towards implementing change throughout the year
  • Reviewing the final report and documenting current and future action plans

MAP Process Schedule

The following is an overview of the main pieces of the MAP process. If your museum is accepted into MAP, you will receive more details and reminders about each subsequent step.

Want to share more information with your team about the MAP program? Watch and share this 12 minute recorded presentation, “The Insider’s Guide to MAP,” which covers all the details about program cost, eligibility requirements, and some of the positive institutional impacts from a few of the more than 5,000 museums that have participated in MAP.

Before Application Deadline:

  • Ensure eligibility
  • Secure institutional commitment
  • Pick an assessment type
  • Select your MAP goals
  • Form your internal MAP Team
  • Complete and submit the application

Stage 1

  • Receive notification of acceptance 30-45 days after application deadline
  • Sign and return acceptance form, agreeing to terms and conditions, scheduled for the end of March
  • Access the MAP Portal and complete Module One in April
  • Pay fee (due mid-April)
  • Begin the MAP Workbook and Activities in April
  • Begin working with MAP Staff on potential Peer Reviewers around May through July

Stage 2

  • Continue working in the MAP Portal throughout the spring and summer
  • Continue work with MAP staff on Peer Reviewer assignment around May through July
  • Work on the MAP Workbook and Activities, submitting completed pre-site visit sections by deadline of July 7, 2023
  • Contact the Peer Reviewer to schedule site visit and develop visit agenda (summer)
  • Inform MAP staff of site visit date (2023 site visits must be completed by October 15th)

Stage 3-4

  • Continue MAP Workbook and Activities, submitting completed sections by deadlines throughout the summer and fall
  • Compile and provide additional documentation to Peer Reviewer ahead of the site visit
  • Continue working in the MAP Portal throughout the summer and fall
  • Site visit and assigned activities (the 2023 site visit deadline is October 15th)
  • Receive peer reviewer’s report 8-10 weeks after visit
  • Complete work in the MAP Portal, scheduled to close in the winter
  • Begin/plan for implementing recommendations from the Peer Reviewer’s report
  • Complete remaining sections of the MAP Workbook
  • Integrate action items into your museum’s plans
  • Follow-up with the Peer Reviewer
  • Submit completed MAP Workbook and end of program MAP online survey (February-March 2024)


Typically, February – December

Who’s Involved?

There are three different MAP roles for people in your MAP Team: the MAP primary contact, the MAP team member, and other stakeholders. Each of these roles has varying time commitment and responsibility.

The MAP Team

This internal team is a critical part of the MAP process. It leads the MAP process at the museum and is accountable for completion and compliance. It is responsible for doing for the bulk of the work to complete materials and the modules in the MAP Portal. It is responsible for conducting the assessment and integrating it into the museum’s planning and implementation process. Members of the team can change if needed during the MAP process. Being on the Team involves a significant time commitment.

Who should be on this team? People with the:

  • knowledge about how things really work or don’t work at your organization, about what resources are available, about how to get things done
  • authority to hold others accountable for tasks
  • authority for making decisions about policies or procedures
  • responsibility for implementing decisions arising from the assessment and subsequent planning

Note: Directors must be on the MAP Team for both Organizational and Board Leadership Assessments.

The number of people on your MAP Team is up to you. But, remember to keep it manageable.

A copy of your final report will be shared with all people on your institution’s MAP Team as reported on your original Application (or their subsequently reported replacements).

Primary Contact

Consider who on the MAP Team should be the Primary Contact—this person functions as the museum’s MAP Team leader and main connection point with the MAP staff and the Peer Reviewer. It may be a member of your governing authority, the director, or another staff member with appropriate skills to lead a team and manage a project. Generally, we do not recommend having the development director, grant writer, a consultant, or an intern serve as the Primary Contact. This role requires significant time commitment and responsibility.  Additional detail about choosing your Primary Contact is found in the Application.

Other Museum Stakeholder (Non-MAP Team Member)

The MAP process should be inclusive of the whole museum and try to involve everyone in some way or another. Make sure to consider how non-MAP Team members—such as other staff, board members, volunteers, interns/student workers, and even key donors or community members—can stay informed about the process and contribute. We encourage you to invite individuals to attend occasional MAP Team meetings as guests when the topic or MAP activity is relevant.

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