WCU art museum receives national accreditation

Bardo Arts Center Staff Holding American Alliance of Museums Accreditation Award
Photo courtesy of Western Carolina University

Press release from Western Carolina University:

The Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center has achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. American Alliance of Museum Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public.

Alliance Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 50 years, the Alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and remain financially and ethically accountable in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

Western Carolina University Chancellor, Dr. Kelli R. Brown, is honored the university has received this accreditation. “The hallmark of any great university is great cultural programs. We celebrate the WCU Fine Art Museum’s accreditation as a testament to WCU’s commitment to excellence in the arts.” Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, only just over 1,080 of those museums are currently accredited, and out of that, only 16% are university museums. In addition, the WCU Fine Art Museum is one of only 28 museums accredited in North Carolina, and one of 3 accredited museums in the UNC System.

Accreditation is a very rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. The Alliance’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, considers the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation.

Executive Director Denise Drury Homewood began this process with a self-study in 2011 and has led the 10-year effort. “The accreditation process has galvanized our ethics, honed our standards, and brought us closer to our audiences. This recognition is a result of the dedication and persistence of our incredible team of Museum professionals, along with the support from the WCU campus and regional community who believe in the power of the arts.” The WCU Fine Art Museum has been awarded a 10-year accreditation, the highest level of accreditation possible, holding the museum to the same standards as national landmarks like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura L. Lott, Alliance President and CEO. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.” Find a link to the full release from the American Alliance of Museums and more about this award by visit arts.wcu.edu/accreditation.

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