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American Alliance of Museums Accreditation

WCU Fine Art Museum Receives Highest National Recognition

American Alliance of Museums Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public. 

Bardo Arts Center Staff Holding American Alliance of Museums Accreditation Award


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. Read the full release from the American Alliance of Museums. 

"The hallmark of any great university is great cultural programs. We celebrate the WCU Fine Art Museum’s accreditation as a testament to WCU’s commitment to excellence in the arts.” - Chancellor, Dr. Kelli R. Brown

Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, only just over 1,080 of those museums are currently accredited, and out of that, only 16% are university museums. In addition, the WCU Fine Art Museum is one of only 28 museums accredited in North Carolina, and one of 3 accredited museums in the UNC system.

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. The Alliance’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. 

Contemporary Clay 2016 Exhibition

Executive Director, Denise Drury Homewood began this process with a self-study in 2011 and has lead the 10 year effort. “The accreditation process has galvanized our ethics, honed our standards, and brought us closer to our audiences. This recognition is a result of the dedication and persistence of our incredible team of Museum professionals, along with the support from the WCU campus and regional community who believe in the power of the arts.” The WCU Fine Art Museum has been awarded a 10-year accreditation, the highest level of accreditation possible, holding the museum to the same standards as national landmarks like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The WCU Fine Art Museum is the only North Carolina museum to receive accreditation this cycle.

“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.” 

Promoting and facilitating meaningful engagement with contemporary works of art and artists, the WCU Fine Art Museum, features four galleries, a growing permanent collection, and rotating exhibitions highlighting regional, national, and international artists.

2021 Faculty Biennial Exhibition Installation View

The WCU Fine Art Museum is part of Bardo Arts Center and is located on the WCU main campus at 199 Centennial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. The museum will reopen to the public on Tuesday, August 17, 2021. General hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4 p.m. and Thursday until 7:00 p.m. Learn more about the WCU Fine Art Museum.

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 30,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance is the only organization representing the entire scope of the broad museum community. For more information, visit 

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