Idaho Museum of Natural History earns accreditation from American Association of Museums

Article courtesy of ISU Headlines

Posted August 18, 2010

The accreditation lasts through 2023. The Idaho Museum of Natural History meets American Association of Museums standards in all areas.

“Impressive changes were made in the past year, especially in terms of university support,” said Bonnie W. Styles, chair of the AAM Accreditation Commission, in a letter announcing the accreditation to ISU. “We congratulate the museum for productively using the tabling period to develop a strategic plan, work with the University to increase support, strengthen the museum’s role in university research and education, and dramatically improve collections care.”

Accreditation recognizes the Museum’s commitment to excellence and professional standards of operation. This level of operation is achieved through an ongoing process of learning and improvement, according to the AAM.

“We began the reorganization of the Museum last year in order to improve the Museum and satisfy the accreditors, and I am delighted that we were able to be so successful in such a short time,” said Gary Olson, ISU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

To ensure that accredited museums maintain their level of professional performance, museums must undergo periodic reaccreditation reviews by the AAM.

“Your institution continues to meet the high standards established by the accreditation program and museum field,” Styles said. “It has demonstrated this through its completion of a rigorous process of self-study and reviews by a visiting committee of its peers and the Accreditation Commission.”

While crediting ISU Provost Gary Olson and former director Skip Lohse for much of the success of the University’s efforts, new IMNH Director Herbert Maschner lauded the accomplishment.

“Accreditation is the next step in rebuilding the Idaho Museum of Natural History into an internationally recognized center for scientific excellence,” Maschner said.

The Idaho Museum of Natural History announced a restructuring in June 2009. That restructuring involved creating three new divisions – anthropology, earth sciences and life sciences – each managed by a new division head. The new division heads focus on research and securing research funding. The division heads also supervise collections, and the IMNH has hired collection managers for each division whose primary responsibilities will be to inventory, maintain and manage the Museum’s numerous collections.

“At its core, accreditation is all about self-examination and self-improvement,” said AAM president Ford W. Bell. “Few museums epitomize those aspirations better than the Idaho Museum of Natural History. The hard work of Director Maschner and all the staff has not only made the museum one of the finest in Idaho, but also one of the best in America.”