Accreditation Puts EAA AirVenture Museum in Top Tier of Nation's Museums
EAA earns 15-year accreditation from American Association of Museums
One-of-a-kind displays such as SpaceShipOne make EAA AirVenture Museum one of the nation’s best aviation museums.
August 26, 2010 — EAA’s AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, one of the nation’s premier aviation museums, has again earned accreditation from the American Association of Museums, recognizing its commitment to excellence and high professional standards. The latest approval marks the third consecutive time the AirVenture Museum has earned the AAM’s “seal of approval.” The EAA facility was the first aviation museum in the U.S. to earn accreditation in 1988, and one of fewer than 10 aviation museums in the nation to hold the rating. The museum was accredited for 15 years, increased from the 10-year terms approved twice previously.
“Earning AAM accreditation is an incredibly rigorous task, as the standards and requirements are very high,” said Alan Westby, director of the EAA AirVenture Museum. “EAA’s museum, however, reflects the high standards of the organization and its members. The accreditation committee recognized this connection and the dedication to continuing improvement in all areas.”
The AAM accreditation process took more than a year to complete. It includes substantial documentation of a museum’s current programs and operations, as well as a site visit by a national panel of museum professionals. Among other characteristics reviewed by AAM are governance, collection stewardship, institutional planning, code of ethics, mission and risk management.
Among the publicly visible upgrades made the by the AirVenture Museum over the past decade was the effort to make exhibits more interactive and family-friendly. In addition, exciting new exhibits have been introduced in recent years, including such one-of-a-kind displays as SpaceShipOne, the world’s first successful civilian spaceship.
The AirVenture Museum also became a major value for EAA members, as a free-admission policy for EAA members was established, and the organization’s 160,000 members could also visit several hundred other science and technology centers nationwide at no charge as part of the Association of Science-Technology Center’s Passport program.
In its final report, the AAM reviewing committee included noteworthy statements such as “the EAA AirVenture Museum has reached for high standards as both a membership organization fostering innovation and as a museum dedicated to collecting and education”; and “the commitment to past and future innovations is reflected in EAA publications and programs, which have an international appeal.”
In addition, the AAM committee found no areas where the AirVenture Museum did not meet AAM standards and best practices, and no areas of improvement required.
“EAA members and the Oshkosh community can be very proud of the AirVenture Museum and the standards of quality that are maintained here,” Westby said. “This facility is not only the home of EAA’s history and the story of personal flight. It is a resource for all to be used to discover more about aviation and a showpiece for our community. We hope that every EAA member can share our pride at this latest recognition and say, ‘This is the home of my organization.’”
AAM accreditation is also valuable for museums, as it indicates national recognition of a museum’s commitment to the highest professional standards; increased credibility with donors, funding agencies and supporters; and additional opportunities for traveling exhibitions and loans.
The AirVenture Museum is one of three accredited museums in Oshkosh, as the Oshkosh Public Museum and the Paine Art Center and Gardens are also listed among facilities that have earned AAM accreditation.
The EAA AirVenture Museum is located just off Highway 41 at the Highway 44 exit in Oshkosh. The Museum is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EAA members receive free museum admission year-round. For more information, call the EAA AirVenture Museum at (920) 426-6108 or visit www.airventuremuseum.org.