Alexandria's Museums Enter an Elite Group
The Office of Historic Alexandria went through a rigorous process to become one of 69 museum systems in the nation to achieve this special accreditation.
The city’s Office of Historic Alexandria has earned accreditation as a museum system from the American Alliance of Museums – the highest national recognition that an American museum can achieve.
"This really puts our museums in the forefront of what it means to be a museum in the 21st Century," OHA Director Lance Mallamo told Patch. "It's so much more than just objects in a glass case."
The Office of Historic Alexandria is one of eight municipal organizations across the country accredited for their museum systems. The only other accredited Virginia museum systems are based in Fairfax County and Newport News.
Alliance President Ford Bell will recognize the city for this achievement at an event Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St.
Accreditation recognizes high standards in individual museums and is designed to ensure that museums uphold the public trust. The alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s main vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability, according to a statement from the city.
"The accreditation really opens up many more grants, partnerships and opportunities for us - especially in tight financial times," Mallamo said.
Of the nation’s estimated 21,000 museums, 995 are currently accredited, as well as 69 museum systems.
To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, and then undergo a site visit by a two-person team of peers.
Mallamo said the accreditation group was pleased with the manner in which Alexandria's museums are integrated into the fabric of the city.
"We have worked with the city's waterfront plan by coordinating its art history components and we also work with tourism and economic development initiatives like developing interpretive signs and scripts for the King Street Trolley," Mallamo said.
The Accreditation Commission, an autonomous body of museum professionals appointed by the Alliance Board, considers the self-study and site visit report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation.
"We are just thrilled about this achievement. We're very proud of it and the sense of teamwork among our staff," he said.