Quilt museum earns accreditation

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum has achieved accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition for a museum. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies and to the museum-going public.

AAM accreditation is the field's primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability, and earns national recognition for a museum for its commitment to excellence in all that it does: governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, the alliance's museum accreditation program strengthens the profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely and to provide the best possible service to the public.

"By receiving accreditation, the International Quilt Study Center and Museum confirmed something the people of Nebraska likely already knew: it is one of the truly outstanding museums in America," said Ford W. Bell, president of the alliance. "The museum has demonstrated its commitment to excellence in everything it does: in its governance, its public programs, its strategic and financial planning, its collections stewardship, and in its overall operations."

Of the nation's estimated 17,500 museums, 1,005 are accredited. The International Quilt Study Center and Museum is the third museum at UNL to achieve this distinction, joining the Sheldon Museum of Art and the University of Nebraska State Museum. Four other museums in Nebraska are accredited -- the Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History in Hastings, Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, the Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History in Lincoln and the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island.

Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum's operations. To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. The alliance's accreditation commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, review and evaluate the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes three years.

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum is the home of the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world. Established in 1997, the center opened a new museum in 2008. The privately funded, environmentally sustainable museum houses more than 3,500 quilts and objects, state-of-the-art research and storage space and spacious galleries. The center's mission to collect, preserve, study, exhibit and promote discovery of quilts and quiltmaking traditions from many cultures, countries and times. For more information, visit http://www.quiltstudy.org.

The International Quilt Study Center is an academic program of the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design in the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences.

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. With more than 17,000 individual, 3,000 institutional and 300 corporate members, it is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit http://www.aam-us.org.

— Laura Chapman, International Quilt Study Center and Museum