Nichols House Receives Accreditation from AAM

The Nichols House Museum has achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), 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. Executive Director Victoria McKay is “ecstatic about the commission’s decision and very grateful to the staff, board members, partners, supporters and volunteers whose efforts have made this tremendous accomplishment possible for the museum.”   “While the recognition from our field is very gratifying, the most meaningful aspect of accreditation is that we are seen as effective stewards of our mission and of delivering that mission to the public,” McKay said.

AAM 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 AAM’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for 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 in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

“On behalf of the board of governors, I am so very honored by this impressive milestone for the museum,” said Kate Enroth, Nichols House Museum board president. “AAM Accreditation speaks to the dedicated work that all current and former board and staff members have done to strengthen the Nichols House Museum.

Rose Nichols had a wonderful vision for creating a museum on Beacon Hill, and we are grateful for this lasting achievement.”

Lynne Rickabaugh, former board president, said, “I could not be more delighted by this achievement. Flavia Cigliano, the former executive director, and the board began to work towards accreditation a number of years ago, and it is very fulfilling to see the museum accomplish this long-term goal”.

Of the nation’s estimated 35,000 museums, only approximately 1,000 are currently accredited. The Nichols House Museum is one of only 69 museums accredited in Massachusetts.

Other Boston area museums accredited by the AAM include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Gore Place, Historic New England and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, among others.

Peggy Fogelman, Norma Jean Calderwood director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, lauded NHM’s accomplishment, saying, “Accreditation by the AAM is a testament to the mission, hard work and accomplishments of the Nichols House Museum.  As director of the Gardner Museum, I understand the importance of preserving a daring woman’s legacy. The acknowledgement garnered through the AAM’s rigorous peer review process validates the importance and future of this cultural gem in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill.  Congratulations to the Nichols House.”

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

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

The Nichols House Museum preserves and interprets the 1804 Federal townhouse that was home to landscape gardener, suffragist and pacifist Rose Standish Nichols and her family. Their home and its original art and furnishings provide a glimpse into life on historic Beacon Hill from the mid-19th to mid-20th century.

The museum educates and inspires the public through innovative programs, and it continues the conversation on the social concerns the Nichols family embraced that are still relevant today.

The museum is open year round. It is accessible via guided tours, which happen on the hour from 11 am to 4 pm. April through October, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday. November through March, the museum is open Thursday through Saturday.

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