NEHMA Receives Highest National Recognition from American Alliance of Museums

The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University has again achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies and to the museum-going public. 

Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, over 1,070 are currently accredited. To maintain accredited status, museums must undergo a reaccreditation review at least every 10 years. NEHMA was first accredited in 1992, and is one of only six museums accredited in Utah.  

Alliance Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. 
Developed and sustained by museum professionals for over 45 years, the alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary way to encourage quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely and remain financially and ethically accountable—all of which helps the museum provide the best possible service to the public. 

“We are proud to be an accredited museum,” said NEHMA Executive Director and Chief Curator Katie Lee-Koven. “It means we take these best practices seriously, whether dealing with our collection, education programs, facility or exhibitions. Being accredited also affords us the opportunity to borrow artworks from other museums and host traveling exhibitions—it reassures others that we will properly care for their artworks. Leading up to reaccreditation, the museum staff and advisory board worked hard to make sure all of our policies and procedures followed best practices.”

Accreditation is a rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. 

“We at USU are very proud of the NEHMA art museum,” USU Provost Frank Galey said. “This accreditation reflects the excellent programs, exhibits and most of all, the students, staff and faculty associated with the museum.”

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 Laura L. Lott, Alliance president and CEO. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.” 

Visit artmuseum.usu.edu to learn more about NEHMA’s current exhibitions and future events. 

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.