The Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) has received accreditation—the highest national recognition for a museum—from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Accreditation signifies a mark of excellence to the museum community, government agencies, cultural funders, and the museum-going public.
“This step is considerable for an eight-year-old museum. I am cognizant of what this recognition means for the future growth of LUMA and deeply appreciative of our staff, museum board of advisors, and University administrators, who worked to bring three years of hard work to glorious fruition,” said Pamela Ambrose, LUMA’s director. “I am very proud for LUMA to be a part of the community of museums which operate with the best standards and policies. It has been my goal, and that of Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president and CEO of Loyola University Chicago, to achieve this honored distinction.”
AAM accreditation is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability. Accreditation bestows national recognition on a museum for its commitment to excellence in its day-to-day operations—governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards, and continued institutional development.
Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM’s accreditation program strengthens the profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and provide the best possible service to the public.
Todd Davis, LUMA’s former chair of the Board of Advisors, spearheaded the board’s participation in providing encouragement and guidance during the three-year process of self-study and peer review.
“All of the board was aware of how much this honor means to LUMA and the University. It is a credential that adds prestige to both institutions,” said Davis.
Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, only 1,005 are currently accredited. LUMA is in the top 6 percent of museums in the U.S. that has successfully sought accreditation.
“Accreditation assures the people of Chicago that their museum is among the finest in the nation,” said Ford Bell, AAM president. “As a result, the citizens can take considerable pride in their homegrown institution for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community.”
Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operation. To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a year-long 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, review and evaluate the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes three years.
“I would especially urge university museums to undertake this effort,” said Jonathan Canning, LUMA’s senior curator. “The process itself makes the institution stronger both in its day-to-day operations, but also in its relationship to the university and the academic community.”
The museum opened in 2005, making it one of the youngest to be accredited. The permanent collection, the Martin D’Arcy, S.J. Collection of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Art, was previously housed in the library at Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. The new museum space at the Water Tower Campus opened with a new mission to explore the spiritual in art of all faiths and cultures. The mission thus reinforces the significant cultural diversity of Chicago and the University’s community.
The museum is located at 820 North Michigan Avenue across from the Water Tower Park. It is open Tuesday, 11 a.m.–8 p.m., and Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. LUMA provides a full array of exhibitions and educational programs for adults, students, seniors, and families. For more information please visit LUC.edu/luma or call 312.915.7630.
To view a video about the accreditation, click here.