WheatonArts Receives Highest National Recognition—Awarded Re-Accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums
Millville, NJ (8/7/2023) – Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center (WheatonArts) has again achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded by the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, local governments, funders, outside agencies, and the museum-going public. The Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts was initially accredited in 2000 and re-accredited in 2013. Now, the entire entity of WheatonArts is accredited by the AAM! All museums must undergo a reaccreditation review every 10 years to maintain accredited status.
Alliance 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 50 years, the Alliance’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.
“Over the past few years, a team of board and staff at WheatonArts embarked on the thorough assessment of policies and procedures that ensure we are meeting the AAM-defined best practices in museum operations,” says WheatonArts Executive Director. “As home to the AAM-accredited Museum of American Glass for over 20 years, we are delighted that this prestigious status has been expanded to the whole institution for its rich and diverse programming, collections management, and community engagement. Accreditation by the AAM is a testament to the dedicated team of staff, board, and volunteers who have worked so hard to advance our mission to engage artists and audiences in an evolving exploration of creativity.”
According to the AAM’s Accreditation Committee Commission Chair, Marise McDermott, the reaccreditation of WheatonArts “means the museum continues to meet National Standards and Best Practices for U.S. Museums and remains a member of a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence. Through a rigorous process of self-assessment and review by its peers, the museum has shown itself to be a good steward of its resources held in the public trust and committed to a philosophy of continual institutional growth. The Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center is an impressive institution and a wonderful example of its discipline. We commend the excellent progress it has made on all fronts since the last accreditation review.”
Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, only 1,102 are currently accredited. WheatonArts is one of only ten museums accredited in New Jersey.
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. 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, Alliance President and CEO. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”
WheatonArts is currently celebrating its accreditation with free admission in August! Wheaton Wide Open is an initiative that helps make WheatonArts exhibitions and the creative process accessible to all, made possible in part by PNC Arts Alive. It is free to visit Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during August 2023.
Visitors can explore exhibitions in the renowned Museum of American Glass, housing one of the most comprehensive collections of glass produced in America and the world’s largest hand-blown glass bottle! On display in 2023 are the enchanting glass worlds of Amber Cowan in the Alchemy of Adornment exhibit. Cowan transforms American pressed glass into exuberantly adorned diorama-like wall installations and free-standing sculptures using centuries-old glassblowing and flameworking techniques. Her works are rich in symbolism with themes of transformation, femininity, and nostalgia.
Unique exhibitions celebrating the region’s cultural diversity take place within the Down Jersey Folklife Center. Currently on view is The Good, the Evil, and the Funny: Ritual and Mask Dance of Latin America exhibit, exploring a comparative perspective of ritual and celebratory use of masks, their costumes, and dances, as well as an interpretation of symbolism and aesthetics associated with the cultural heritage of the Latin American communities within the region.
While visiting WheatonArts, guests can interact with resident artists in the Glass, Pottery, and Flamework Studios as they skillfully demonstrate the transformation of clay and molten glass into beautiful objects. Visitors can also learn how to shape hot glass, cut and arrange cold glass, or sculpt wet clay by signing up for a Make-Your-Own Experience! The Museum Stores sell works created onsite by the artists, as well as one-of-a-kind sculptures, unexpected treasures, fair trade items, and more. WheatonArts’ 45-acre campus also hosts a mile-looping Nature Trail.
For more information about WheatonArts, call 1-800-998-4552 or 856-825-6800, or visit online at wheatonarts.org.
WheatonArts strives to ensure the accessibility of its exhibitions, events, and programs to all persons with disabilities. Provide two weeks’ notice for additional needs. Patrons with hearing and speech disabilities may contact WheatonArts through the New Jersey Relay Service (TRS) at 800-852-7899 or by dialing 711.
Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the New Jersey Cultural Trust. WheatonArts also receives general operating support from the New Jersey Historical Commission, Division of Cultural Affairs in the New Jersey Department of State, and is supported in part by the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism.
About WheatonArts: With a history spanning over five decades, WheatonArts has earned regional, national, and international recognition for its unique collections and programs. The Museum of American Glass houses one of the most comprehensive collections of American glass in the country – from the first glass bottles made in America to celebrated works by Dale Chihuly, Paul Stankard, and other contemporary glass artists. Visitors experience the art of glassmaking, ceramics, and flameworking in the Artist Studios. From April through December, the Museum of American Glass and Down Jersey Folklife Center present special exhibitions. WheatonArts also offers traditional and multicultural programs, classes, workshops, performances, and weekend festivals. The award-winning Museum Stores offer traditional and contemporary art and craft in all mediums.
About the American Alliance of Museums: The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.