Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Lindsay A. Preston, Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division
WASHINGTON (NNS) – The National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM) has been awarded reaccreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded U.S. museums.
NNAM received its first accreditation in 2002. This accreditation signifies excellence and credibility to the entire museum community, to government and civilian agencies, and to the public. The museum meets national standards and best practices for U.S. museums and is part of a select community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to these core standards.
“When you think of accreditation you think of Smithsonian standard,” said Jeffrey Barta, Assistant Director for the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Navy Museums Division. “NHHC is the Navy’s only history organization and we are the keepers of the Navy’s history and heritage. These museums are the property of the American people and we want to make sure we are taking care of our priceless heritage assets using the best practices possible.”
Accreditation through AAM is a rigorous process through which museums must demonstrate excellence in core characteristics related to collections stewardship, leadership and organizational structure, education and interpretation, missions and planning, facilities and risk management, financial stability, and public service.
The accreditation process is also centered on a self-study and peer review and takes eight to sixteen months to complete.
“Accreditation offers high profile, peer-based validation of the museum’s operations and impact,” said Barta. “It also increases credibility and value to funders, policy makers, the museum and history communities, and peers. It can be a powerful tool to leverage change and helps facilitate loans between institutions.”
NNAM is the world’s largest naval aviation museum and one of the most visited museums in the state of Florida. At the core of the museum’s collections are more than 1,000 aircraft — most of which are on display at other museums, with approximately 190 located aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, representing the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The aircraft are displayed both inside the museum’s nearly 350,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside, on its 60-acre grounds.
"The rigorous reaccreditation process represents over two years of in-depth preparation and planning, including updating and in many cases re-writing significant core documents and policies,” said Dina Linn, museum curator for NNAM. “The two-day site visit and thorough inspection was designed to examine every aspect of museum operations, including financial stability, collections management, exhibit maintenance and design, security, restoration, and interpretation.”
The mission of NNAM, an official Department of the Navy museum, is to “select, collect, preserve and display historic artifacts relating to the history of naval aviation.”
“The National Naval Aviation Museum continues to meet the highest standards of the profession and is a model for other Department of Defense museums,” said Linn. “Only three percent of museums nationwide are accredited, and only four percent of federal museums hold that distinction. Our staff is extremely proud of this success which demonstrates our continued and passionate dedication to public service. Visitors can be assured that the museum continues to uphold our mission as a steward of memory and public trust."
The National Naval Aviation Museum is part of the Navy’s museum system, the largest of 10 official Navy museums located throughout the United States. Of the nation’s estimated 35,000 museums, 1,068 are currently accredited. AAM 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 museums community.
The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.
For more news from Naval History and Heritage Command, visit www.history.navy.mil.