Milwaukee Public Museum Secures Reaccreditation from the American Alliance of Museums

August 1, 2022

Anna Story

Milwaukee Public Museum Secures Reaccreditation from the American Alliance of Museums

New Museum plan prompts renewal of highest national recognition

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) has secured reaccreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, governments, funders, outside agencies, and the museum-going public.

“For MPM, accreditation is essential to securing the future of this beloved institution and maintaining our status and collections as we look to the future,” said Dr. Ellen Censky, MPM President & CEO. “Achieving this milestone along with the launch of our $240 million Wisconsin Wonders fundraising campaign and the unveiling of our new Museum renderings will continue our momentum toward a Museum that future generations can enjoy. We look forward to building on the $110 million in financial support we have already received from the State of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County and generous private donors.”

Milwaukee Public Museum was most recently accredited in 2007. In 2021, a reaccreditation decision was tabled by AAM, citing inadequate facilities due to deferred maintenance and requiring a demonstration of efforts toward the long-term care for the collections entrusted to MPM. MPM collections staff, security, facilities and custodial teams have instituted rigorous efforts to ensure the safety of the artifacts and specimens in MPM’s care while the institution remains in its current location – efforts which have protected the collections from any irreparable damage. When the Museum moves to its new location, scheduled to open in 2026, collections will be stored in state-of-the-art facilities on-site and in an additional 50,000 square foot off-site storage facility.

"The Milwaukee Public Museum is a tremendous cultural asset to Milwaukee, and its accreditation asserts the institution's commitment to preserve its world-class collections and remain a viable, thriving institution for the community, Wisconsin and visitors from around the world," said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. "This is another important milestone in the journey toward the new Museum and a point of celebration for the County."

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.

Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, 1,096 are currently accredited. Milwaukee Public Museum is one of only 21 museums accredited in Wisconsin.

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.”

About the Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum is a natural and human history museum located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Museum was chartered in 1882 and opened to the public in 1884. MPM has three floors of exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a rainforest, and a live butterfly garden as well as the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater & Planetarium. The Museum houses more than 4 million objects and hosts some half a million visitors each year.

MPM is operated by Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc., a private, non-profit company, and its facilities and collections are held in trust and supported by Milwaukee County for the benefit of the public.

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