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St. Joseph Museums Celebrate Reaccreditation

After a long and tedious process, the organization has earned national reaccreditation. The news, announced Thursday, follows three years of work to make it happen.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A sigh of relief came this week for the St. Joseph Museums.

After a long and tedious process, the organization has earned national reaccreditation.

The news, announced Thursday, follows three years of work to make it happen.

"The American Alliance of Museums has once again award accreditation to the St. Joseph Museums - its highest honor," said Clark Hampton, Board of Trustees president.

The recognition places the St. Joseph Museums among the top in the nation. Only about 1,000 of 17,500 museums nationwide are accredited. Only 11 here in Missouri make the list.

"This elite group includes such well-known institutions as the Smithsonian in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The Getty in Los Angeles and of course it includes the St. Joseph Museums as well," said Ford Bell, AAM.

The reaccreditation process began for the museums in December of 2009 with a self study.

"It strengthened and refined our museum operation and practices and helps us to stay up on our current conditions in our profession and the expectations of the public," said Jackie Lewin, executive director.

A team also reviewed things like public trust and accountability and financial stability.

The financial element was a key factor for the museums because accreditation impacts the funding received from the city. It was a sticking point throughout the process as we learned back in May of this year.

"That's good for the citizens. That's good for the city, the community because that guarantees that here is a museum that is trying to do everything right," said Hampton in an earlier interview with KQ2.

With the reaccreditation process completed, St. Joe becomes one of the top 6 percent of museums recognized for this honor.

"The museums and their leadership have demonstrated a commitment of excellence from top to bottom," added Lewin.

Hampton also pointed out the work of the staff and volunteers.

"It recognizes the professionalism of our staff, the commitment of our board and the dedication of our many volunteers," he said.

Accredited museums must undergo a process on a regular basis to retain the recognition.

The St. Joseph Museums includes the American Indian and history galleries, the Glore Psychiatric Museum, the Black Archives Museum and the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion. All were inspected by the review team.

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