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Accreditation Process and Timeline

Accreditation Program and COVID-19: FAQs and Guidance

Preparation for First-Time Applicants

Preparation for Museums Undergoing Reaccreditation


  • As applicable, download a preview copy of either the Accreditation Self-Study (for first-time applicants) or the Reaccreditation Self-Study as a reference for the online version
  • Complete the Self-Study online (questionnaire and attachments) via a unique link provided by Accreditation Program staff
  • After submission, museum receives feedback from Accreditation Program staff and responds to requests for missing/additional information

Site Visit

  • Museum reviews names of potential peer reviewers to serve as the Visiting Committee
  • Alliance selects a two or three person team
  • The Visiting Committee works with the museum to schedule a visit
  • The visit is 1.5 – 3 days
  • The Visiting Committee writes a report for the Accreditation Commission

Accreditation Decision

The Accreditation Commission reviews the museum’s Self-Study and site visit report and makes one of the following decisions:

  • Grants accreditation (usually for 10 years)
  • Tables its decision for 1 year so specific issues can be addressed
  • Denies accreditation due to failure to meet multiple Core Standards and/or for major systemic problems
  • Defers a decision to gather additional information

Learn more about Accreditation Commission decisions.

About a month after the Accreditation Commission’s meeting, the museum receives a decision letter from the Chair of the Accreditation Commission and the site visit report. When accreditation is granted, the museum also receives an official certificate and materials to help publicize its award.

Total time for First-Time Applicants: Approximately 8 -16 months (unless tabled.)

Total time for Reaccreditation: Approximately 8-12 months (unless tabled.)

Museums undergo reaccreditation every ten years. (The Accreditation Commission, however, may designate a shorter cycle on a case-by-case basis.)

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