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Sat, March 23

Sharlot Hall Museum earns national recognition, 3 times in 3 decades

Sharlot Hall Museum adds a sparkling candle to its 90th birthday cake, earning accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) for the third time. It is the highest recognition afforded the country’s museums with less than 4 percent of museums nationwide achieving the designation.

“Accreditation signifies excellence to the community, and recognizes this Museum for its highest professional standards, accountability, and continued institutional improvement,” said Fred Veil, executive director of the museum.

Initially accredited in 1992, and again in 2003, this year makes the third time the museum has earned the recognition. (AAM suspended its process in 2013 while revising standards and review process.) All museums must undergo a re-accreditation review at least every 10 years to maintain accredited status. The process involves both self-study and site inspection over an eight- to 16-month time frame.

Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, less than 1,070 are accredited. Sharlot Hall Museum is the only one in Central Arizona, and one of only 18 in Arizona.

Accreditation examines all aspects of the museum’s operations, Veil reports. It must complete a year of self-study, and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers, after which an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals considers the reports and determines whether a museum should receive accreditation.

The report identified a wide range of “exemplary practices” in all facets of the museum operations, from collection stewardship to core standards and its educational role. It found the volunteer training program “notable in its scope and depth. It is clear that volunteers are valued and there are strong connections and communications between the volunteers and all levels of staff.”

It also stated the museum’s education program provided flexibility in tours together with interactive, hands-on programs to adapt experiences to curriculum and age groups.

“This is particularly significant as we move forward with our Education Center building project to further enhance our exhibits and provide critical thinking skills to the young visitors,” Veil said.

The AAM report acknowledged the strong connections to the local Native American community, as well as the museum’s “well-rounded and effective marketing strategy ... (that) has a consistent, cohesive look and feel reinforced throughout its materials and messaging.”

Laura Lott, AAM president, said accreditation is a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud. “Accredited museums are identified as being publicly accountable to excellence,” Lott said.

The report concluded that Sharlot Hall Museum is a good neighbor in its community and collaborates with activities taking place within the downtown core.

“They actively connect to and enhance the existing offerings with museum education and public programming,” it stated.

“This is, indeed, an accomplishment for which we can all be proud,” Veil said. “This result is, of course, a team effort, from every member of the Board of Trustees, to the staff, and to the diligence and passion of our volunteers.”

“This recognition validates our commitment as stewards of regional history and heritage, and that we are taking the appropriate steps to preserve that history, just as Sharlot Hall herself intended more than 90 years ago,” he added.

Sharlot Hall Museum is located at 415 W. Gurley Street, Prescott. For more information, call 928-277-2000, or visit www.sharlot.org.

Information submitted by Sharlot Hall Museum

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