Pat Miller, Director of the Illinois Heritage Association in Champaign, Ill. and Susan McLeod, Director of the Chippewa Valley Museum in Eau Claire, Wis. were featured guests and offered their opinion on a peer-review report as part of the re-accredited procedure.
The re-accreditation process is a long process that includes a museum's self-evaluation and writing extensive reports along with a peer-evaluation. Miller and McLeod both belong to accredited museum and performed that peer-evaluation this week.
Miller stated that any museum seeking accreditation has to meet rigorous guidelines including educational programs, community involvement, ethics and the collection of said museums.
At a reception held at the Sanford Museum on Tuesday, Miller and McLeod spoke about what they have seen so far. The review of the Sanford Museum was glowing. "We were working with the staff of the museum and going over their collections. Just when we thought that we had seen everything the staff kept showing us more and more of their collection," said Miller.
The main focus of having the peer-evaluation is that it gives an outside point of view of the museum and the community that the museum is set in.
"It's been a great experience and I love this community. You are very fortunate to have all that you do, like a hospital, symphony and of course the Sanford Museum, in a town this size," said Miller to the group attending the reception.
McLeod explained why a museum being accredited is important, "Being accredited is most definitely a mark of status. It helps with say, someone looking to fund the museum. If they know that the museum is accredited it helps with their decision knowing that their funds are going to place that provides accountability. Also it helps when applying for federal funds."
There are approximately 750 museums accredited in the United States and only 10 in the State of Iowa. The Sanford Museum was first accredited in 1972 and has been re-accredited in 1985 and again in 1998. The results of the re-accreditation process will be known sometime in November.