National Standards and Best Practices for U.S. Museums

Elizabeth E. Merritt

National Standards and Best Practices for U.S. Museums
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Elizabeth E. Merritt

Distributed for American Alliance of Museums Press

92 pages | 7 x 10 | © 2008
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781933253114 Published April 2008
For the first time, the U.S. museum profession's current operating standards in areas from public accountability to facilities and risk management are available in a single publication. This guide is an essential reference work for the museum community, presenting the ideals that should be upheld by every museum striving to maintain excellence in its operations.  An introductory section explains how virtually anyone associated with museums will find the book valuable, from trustees to staff to funders and the media. It is followed by a full outline of the standards, including the overarching Characteristics of Excellence and the seven areas of performance they address. Throughout the book is commentary by Elizabeth E. Merritt, former director of AAM's Museum Advancement and Excellence Department and founding director of AAM's Center for the Future of Museums.
Contents
Preface: Ford W. Bell, AAM President
Acknowledgments

Section 1: Introduction
Who Should Use This Book and How
What Is a Museum?
Why Standards?
What Are “Standards and Best Practices”?
Where Do Standards Come From?
How Can Museums Use the Standards?
Who Else Uses the Standards, and How?
Section 2: Standards and Best Practices
Core Questions
Commentary
Characteristics of Excellence for U.S. Museums
Characteristics of Excellence for U.S. Museums “in Translation”
I. Public Trust and Accountability
    Standards Regarding Public Trust and Accountability
    Commentary
    Standards Regarding Ethics
    Commentary
    The AAM Code of Ethics for Museums
    Standards Regarding an Institutional Code of Ethics
    Commentary
II. Mission and Planning
    Standards Regarding Institutional Mission Statements
    Commentary
    Standards Regarding Institutional Planning
    Commentary
III. Leadership and Organizational Structure
    Standards Regarding Governance
    Commentary
    Standards Regarding Delegation of Authority
    Commentary
IV. Collections Stewardship
    Standards Regarding Collections Stewardship
    Commentary
    Best Practices Regarding Loaning Collections to Non-Museum Entities
    Commentary
    Standards Regarding the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects During the Nazi Era
    Best Practices Regarding the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects During the Nazi Era
     Commentary
V. Education and Interpretation
    Standards Regarding Education and Interpretation
    Commentary
    Standards Regarding Exhibiting Borrowed Objects
    Commentary
VI. Financial Stability
    Standards Regarding Financial Stability
    Commentary
    Standards Regarding Developing and Managing Business and Individual Donor Support
    Commentary
    Standards Regarding Retrenchment or Downsizing
VII. Facilities and Risk Management
    Standards Regarding Facilities and Risk Management
    Commentary
Section 3: Completing the Picture
The Universe of Museum Standards and Best Practices
Other Major Sources of Standards Relevant to Museums
AAM Standing Professional Committees and Standards
Trends and Potential Future Standards
Troubleshooting

Appendix: Dates of Approval of Standards and Best Practices
Glossary
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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