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Re-Accreditation Redux

Dallas Heritage Village Has Recently Been Re-accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM)


So what?


Well, of the estimated 17,500 museums in this country, only 779, or about 4.5%, are accredited.  In Texas just 39 are accredited, and in Dallas, only the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Nature and Science, and the Sixth Floor Museum join Dallas Heritage Village with this designation. We are in pretty good company here!


What is the significance of AAM accreditation? 


As the AAM likes to say, accreditation is the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”  It is an objective outside evaluation by other museum professionals who measure the museum against best standards and practices of the field.  The accreditation seal of approval tells the community that the accredited museum is a good steward of its collections and financial resources.


We are, of course, pleased and honored—and mighty glad that the process is over!  The accreditation process involves two rigorous stages.  The first stage, which takes a full year, is an in-depth study of all museum operations, including financial, governance, public programs, community engagement, collections stewardship, and security.  If this stage is successful, then the second stage kicks in—an on-site review by two outside peer reviewers, who are also museum professionals.  The visiting team prepares a report that is reviewed by the Accreditation Commission (another group of museum professionals).  The Commission then makes a final decision—yea or nay— on the accreditation application.  From start to finish the entire process takes close to four years, so fortunately we are not up for review again until 2026.


This is the third time I have been director of a museum (twice here at DHV) that has gone through this process, and I have often been asked, “Gary, that is great…uh, now do we get any more money because of this?” 


We wish!  But no, we don’t actually see any immediate monetary benefit, although we do know that our accredited status is a plus when we apply to foundations and government agencies for funding. 


The takeaway from this process for the public is simply this: the hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in our museum, and the historical treasures that we hold and interpret, have been judged to be in “Good Housekeeping” hands.


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