San Bernardino County Museum Earns National Accreditation

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– The San Bernardino County Museum has again achieved 10-year accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums.

Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. 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.

The process is a peer-based review centered on what the museum industry considers the “Characteristics of Excellence,” which are the national standards and best practices in museums. These standards include high quality in the museum’s mission, institutional code of ethics, strategic planning, public engagement, and collections management. The San Bernardino County Museum has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) since 1974. This will be the fifth time the museum has been awarded this high mark of distinction.

“This re-accreditation gives us continued confidence in the museum as an essential component of our Countywide Vision, and recognition that the Museum’s public and educational programs and care of our county’s precious heritage remain relevant and valuable to our residents,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Lovingood.

“The County Museum’s successful re-accreditation speaks volumes about the quality of the leadership selected to champion the Museum and help it to grow to its fullest potential in service to our community,” said Kurt Hagman, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “It is with great delight that I commend the staff for their hard work in making sure to carry out the board’s vision and direction. The Museum has gone through challenges in the past, but our team has persevered through hard work in providing the best experience to the public that comes through its doors. I wish them continued success in meeting and exceeding the expectations of all who enter through the doors. “

Developed and sustained by museum professionals for more than 45 years, the alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. 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. AAM’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.

“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Alliance president and CEO Laura L. Lott. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”

“Our County Museum is committed to empowering residents to think creatively and to celebrate our communities’ past, present, and future. Accreditation reaffirms that our museum is among the finest in the country,” said San Bernardino County Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales.

Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, just 1,070 are currently accredited. The San Bernardino County Museum is one of only 69 museums accredited in California.

“We would expect nothing less of this county resource than to be amongst the best museums in the state and nationally,” said Interim County Chief Executive Officer Dena Smith. “The Board of Supervisors has been committed to supporting this important achievement and we are pleased at this news.”

“This reaccreditation acknowledges the County Museum’s strong commitment to preserving and sharing our local history, and I invite all of our residents to come explore the many engaging collections and displays the museum has for visitors of all ages,” Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford said.

“With each re-accreditation milestone, our Museum strengthens itself as the effective steward of its mission to develop visitors’ knowledge of our diverse region and its history,” said Third District Supervisor James Ramos. “I am delighted by this meaningful achievement and what it signifies to the Museum – a clearer sense of identity and purpose in the community through its strengths, goals and priorities.  It is rewarding to witness how accomplishments such as this become reality through the dedication of staff to implement new approaches and to work towards common goals.”

According to the museum’s accreditation report, the visiting team wrote that “with recent changes in governance, new leadership, new staff, and investment by the County and Museum in the in-depth planning and implementation of strategic goals, the [Museum] has the leadership, organizational culture, structure, and capacity to be a viable, sustainable, and cherished community asset for the foreseeable future.” The report specifically cited the active support of the County Board of Supervisors and County Administrative Office for a “demonstrated deep understanding of the County’s cultural and historic assets and educational and social needs.”

“I’m particularly proud of the enthusiastic and exemplary teamwork performed to achieve accreditation,” said Leonard Hernandez, deputy executive officer for the Community Services Group, who served as the museum’s interim director during some of the preparation work.

Museum Director Melissa Russo concurred. “The museum staff was highly engaged in this process to ensure that every aspect of the museum strengthens our capacity to deliver excellent service to our county residents. We are immensely proud to have achieved our 10-year accreditation status,” Russo said.

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcounty.gov/museum. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

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