Pacific Asia Museum Awarded Accreditation from the American Association of Museums

PASADENA – The American Association of Museums (AAM) has announced that Pacific Asia Museum was awarded accreditation for the first time in its history at the most recent meeting of the Accreditation Commission. Accredited status from AAM is the highest national recognition achievable by an American museum.

Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, 778 (<5%) are currently accredited. To earn accreditation a museum first must conduct an extensive year of self-study and evaluation, and then undergo a site visit by a two-person team of peers. Since the first museums were accredited in 1971, accreditation has recognized high standards in individual museums and ensures that museums continue to uphold their public trust. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for more than 35 years, AAM’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for ensuring quality, public accountability, high ethical standards and excellence. “This is a significant milestone for the museum and reflects the maturing of Pacific Asia Museum in many ways,” said the museum’s executive director Joan Marshall. “The entire staff and Board have been involved in the process, which has created a shared sense of our future and our potential.” Bruce Blomstrom, chair of the Board of Trustees, concurred. “Earning accreditation is a cause for celebration because it signifies that we are fulfilling our mission of serving the community in ways that meet or exceed the professional standards and practices of our peers. I couldn’t be more proud.” According to Margaret Leong Checca, who takes over as Board chair beginning in January 2010, “A great museum is always in the process of responding and becoming. Pacific Asia Museum has made significant advances in a short period of time. The museum is truly fulfilling its promise to be an engaging and inspiring resource for the community.” Ford W. Bell, president of the American Association of Museums said, “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.” In a rapidly changing world, accreditation inspires museums to achieve a higher standard. It strengthens the field as a whole, as well as the museums that receive accreditation, by: • contributing to the development and dissemination of standards for the museum community; • promoting professional practices that enable museum leadership to make informed, ethical decisions; allocate and use resources wisely; and be accountable to the public; • encouraging excellence in the museum community; • serving as the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance and self-regulation; and • emphasizing the public service role and strengthening the public image of all museums. Some of California’s other accredited museums include the Japanese American National Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The J. Paul Getty Museum’ The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles; Asian Art Museum in San Francisco; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Pacific Asia Museum is one of only four institutions in the United States dedicated exclusively to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands. The museum serves a broad and expanding audience of students, families, adults, and scholars through its education and outreach programs. The museum presents a mix of contemporary and historic exhibitions in its galleries and has a permanent collection of 15,000 objects spanning 4,000 years. Pacific Asia Museum is located at 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91101. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. Admission is $9 general, $7 students/seniors, and free for children ages 11 and younger. Admission is free every 4th Friday of the month.