Arkansas Arts Center praised by national museum alliance for ‘impressive turnaround’

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 55 views 

The Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock has earned re-accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.

Alliance Accreditation is a distinction developed within the industry that looks at a museum’s “commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement,” according to a press release from the Arts Center.

Once accredited, museums must undergo reaccreditation review at least every 10 years. The process requires the examination of all aspects of a museum’s operations.

“Earning accreditation is a milestone for any institution,” Arts Center Executive Director Todd Herman said in the release. “It’s a very detailed and in-depth process. I am proud of our entire staff and teams whose hard work led us to achieving reaccreditation.”

Within the review, the museum alliance commended the AAC’s fundraising, its partnership with the city of Little Rock and its outreach efforts locally and statewide, according to a press release from the AAC.

“This has clearly led to widespread community support and acclaim,” said Burt Logan, chair of the AAM Accreditation Commission and executive director and CEO of the Ohio History Commission, according to the press release.

The AAM commission said funding from a broad number of sources and community support shown through a bond issue vote to help pay for AAC’s $46 million remodel “have put the museum back on solid footing with its peer institutions, and turned the AAC into a catalyst for community pride and economic redevelopment in downtown Little Rock. It is an impressive turnaround,” according to the release.

The AAM also praised AAC’s educational outreach programs, including the Children’s Theatre and the Museum School and the statewide traveling theatre program and the Artmobile. The programs see more than 300,000 visitors each year on average, resulting in an overall annual attendance of 600,000 to the AAC. “The peer reviewers stated that for an institution of this size, staffing and level of funding, these statistics were exemplary,” according to the release.

The review pointed to a 2014 gift of 290 pieces by American Modernist John Marin and its status as the second-largest holder of Marin works in the world as a sign of the museums strength and a potential catalyst for further expansion, according to the release.

Of the nations’ 35,000 museums, about 1,000 have the Alliance of Museums accreditation, according to the Alliance of Museums website. The Arts Center is one of five accredited institutions in Arkansas. Others are the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, the Arts & Science Center of Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff and the Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro.

“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” Laura L. Lott, Alliance of Museums president and CEO, said in the press release. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”

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