The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The American Alliance of Museums in Washington D.C. awarded the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History reaccreditation in 2014 for the fourth consecutive time. Accreditation offers a wide variety of benefits, including increased credibility, accountability, leverage in state and local legislature, and an opportunity for stakeholders to see that the museum’s obligation to the public trust is fulfilled.
“Accreditation assures people that their museum is among the finest in the nation,” said Ford W. Bell, president of AAM. “As a result, the citizens can take considerable pride in their homegrown institution, for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community.”
According to the Accreditation Visiting Committee Report, a major strength of the museum is the visionary leadership. Committee members noted how a very strong team of staff work collaboratively to create an array of state of the art exhibits and programs. They also complimented the strong research culture, curators and exhibit experience, all of which enable the museum to surpass what many university museums are able to achieve.
Overall, the visiting committee found the Sam Noble Museum to be an outstanding museum, thanks to a visitor-focused infrastructure and commitment to the community. This service is evident in everything from ample parking to broad education and outreach programs throughout the state.
“This means the museum continues to meet the National Standards and Best Practices for U.S. Museums,” explained Sam Noble Museum director Michael Mares.
AAM offers accreditation for those institutions that have proven their commitment to excellence and high professional standards of operation. Only 8 percent of natural history museums in the nation are accredited.
According to a study from Indiana University, museums are considered a more reliable source of historical information than books, teachers or even personal accounts by relatives. Museums also employ more than 400,000 people while contributing $21 billion to the US economy each year. Despite these impressive figures, more than two-thirds of museums reported economic distress at their institutions in 2012.
A shrinking percentage of America’s 17,500 museums receive federal funding. Considering that 37 percent of museums did not charge admission in 2012, this places enormous pressure on museum staff to obtain external funding for things like facility maintenance, research, collection care, exhibits, public programs and needs.
“Accredited museums are looked up to as leaders in the field, and we encourage you to proactively fulfill this responsibility by serving as a mentor and resource for other museums,” wrote Burt Logan, chair of the accreditation commission.
As the mark of an industry leader, accreditation also improves relationships among museums, which can result in greater loans for research and an increase in traveling exhibits. Though many museums apply for accreditation through AAM each year not all are accepted, making this a significant achievement.
The Sam Noble Museum is proud to be one of only 1,005 accredited museums in the nation. The certificate, recognizing great achievement in professionalism, is on display in the museum’s lobby to offer visitors confidence in the nationally recognized quality of their museum.
The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is located on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus at Timberdell Road and Chautauqua Avenue. For accommodations on the basis of disability, call 325-4712 or go online to SamNoble
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