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American Alliance of Museums Reaccredits Vanderbilt Museum

Autumn morning at Vanderbilt Mansion
Vanderbilt Museum photo

Highest National Professional Recognition

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, following a year of rigorous self-study that led to a comprehensive report and a two-day site visit by a team of peer reviewers, has been reaccredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public.

Among the first museums to receive this distinction, the Vanderbilt was accredited initially in 1972, with subsequent reaccreditations in 1982, 1996, and 2005. Of the estimated 33,000 museums in the United States, only 3.25 percent are currently accredited. The Vanderbilt’s next reaccreditation cycle will be in 2027-2028.

AAM accreditation is the highest national recognition awarded to a museum and demonstrates its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. The program strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and remain financially and ethically accountable, with the goal of providing the best possible service to the public.

Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the Vanderbilt Museum, said, “We are pleased that the AAM has once again reaccredited the Museum. This designation is a tribute to the enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work of the trustees and staff. We think the Vanderbilt family would approve of our progress as stewards of their legacy, a remarkable piece of American history.”

Amy Bartow-Melia, chair of the AAM Accreditation Commission and MacMillan associate director for audience engagement at the National Museum of American History, said, “the Vanderbilt continues to meet National Standards and Best Practices for U.S. Museums and remains a member of the 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 AAM site-visit report noted that, “The museum has an excellent executive director … a great team that complements his skills and a very engaged and experienced Board. The Board and administration work well together and include staff as appropriate for managing the property and organization.

“There is very strong and transparent communication between the Board and the staff, especially as it relates to the strategic plan and strategic initiatives. The staff morale is high, and the management team is effective, despite many positions left unfilled due to budget constraints. Our interactions confirmed a positive and equitable work environment … Education is a highlight of the museum, is poised for growth continued success, and provides an accessible and inclusive experience.”

Ronald A. Beattie, president of the Vanderbilt Board of Trustees, said, “This honor is a testament to the great teamwork between our outstanding, dedicated staff and the Board. Creating an institutional plan that details our strategic vision was key to the re-accreditation process. Now we begin the hard work of implementing that plan and turning it into an operational guide.

“Meanwhile, the museum is proud to be one of the few in the U.S. to have earned this distinction from its peers. We look forward to continuing our commitment to the community as a destination for school children, Long Islanders, and international travelers.”

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