Accreditation from the American Association of Museums is the highest national recognition achievable by an American museum since the program began in 1971. Currently, there are 780 accredited museums in the United States. That means that just 4.5 percent of the estimated 17,500 museums in the country are accredited. AAM accreditation is a widely recognized seal of approval.
Andy Hite, historic site manager at Johnston Farm & Indian Agency, was happy about the news of the accreditation. "We are very pleased to receive this recognition by the American Association of Museums. Accreditation reaffirms the quality of service that the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency, as well as the other Ohio Historical Society sites, brings to the visitors who come to our sites. This accreditation shows that the highest standards of our profession are being met by the staff and volunteers at each of our sites. Visitors to the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency will know that there is no other site in the US that offers any better visitor experience on a daily basis," Hite said. "In many ways this just shows what we have felt here for a long time," he said. "Our staff and volunteers are as good, if not better, than at any other historical site in the nation."
"Since its founding in 1885, the Ohio Historical Society has been consistently recognized as one of the leading state historical organizations in the country," said Burt Logan, OHS executive director and CEO. "The Ohio Historical Center was among the first institutions to be accredited by the American Association of Museums when the program was established in 1971. This, the center's fourth subsequent accreditation, reaffirms that we continue to meet the most stringent professional standards in all areas of operation. It also is especially gratifying to have six of the Society's sites receive this coveted designation."
Developed and sustained by museum professionals for more than 39 years, AAM's museum accreditation program is the field's primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. To best serve their communities, it is essential that museums be committed to institutional improvement, maintaining the highest standards in collections stewardship, governance, institutional planning, ethics, education and interpretation and risk management. AAM accreditation signifies excellence and accountability to the entire museum community, to governments and outside agencies and to the museum-going public.
"Accreditation is an entirely self-motivated process, and is no small task," said Ford W. Bell, AAM president. "Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement. But put simply, it means the citizens of the communities served by these museums have in their midst a truly outstanding museum."
The AAM Accreditation Program recognizes museums' commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a site visit by a two-person team of peers. The accreditation commission, an autonomous body of museum professionals appointed by the AAM board, considers the self-study and site visit report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes as much as three years. All accredited museums undergo a subsequent review within 10 years of their last accreditation award.
At each of the newly accredited historic sites, the Ohio Historical Society will be hosting a reception to recognize the achievements of the site's management and volunteers as well as to present the accreditation certificate. A reception has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 14, for Piqua's Johnston Farm & Indian Agency.