Museum News: The Challenge of Maintaining National Museum Accreditation

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The Museums of Western Colorado (MWC) offers a full and comprehensive range of educational and interactive exhibits focusing on a variety of topics. With a paleontology museum, a regional history museum, and a working historical agricultural and transportation museum, the three sites offer something for everyone. With this responsibility, however, comes the challenge of maintaining each facility to a high standard of quality.

In 1971, the Museum was accredited by the American Association of Museums (now the American Alliance of Museums – AAM), and was the 28th in the nation and 2nd in the state to qualify for this designation. When reevaluated for that status in both 1982 and 1996, the Museum continued not only to meet but exceed all standards required. In 2009, the Museum was awarded a 4th accreditation which placed us in the top 1% of museums in the country “recognized as adhering to best standards by the AAM in terms of budget, preservation, and conservation, among other criteria.”

Maintaining our Museum sites to the standard of a national accreditation presents a constant challenge, according to Museums of Western Colorado Executive Director Dr. Peter Booth. “We are proud to be nationally ranked among accredited museums, yet with this honor comes the significant challenge of maintaining multi-disciplinary museums and multi-sites. We hope the community will keep us in mind and continue to support the MWC.”

Our sites’ roofs all suffer from wear, tear, and damage, and repairs are needed at the MWC’s Whitman Educational Center, Dinosaur Journey, and Cross Orchards Historic Site. Most recently, Cross Orchards experienced windstorm damage to its 1945 farm house roof.

These roofing challenges have been partially met by the community’s good will in the past from support from individuals and organizations such as Lions Club (Museum of the West/Whitman Educational Center); The Giving Club (Dinosaur Journey); the City of Fruita (Dinosaur Journey); Roger
Taylor of Discount Lumber and Metal Roofing (Cross Orchards Historic Site); and Eric Carlton of Innovative Expressions (Cross Orchards Historic Site).

To continue to provide a quality museum standard, and to continue to offer a fully comprehensive range of educational and interactive exhibits, the MWC needs the support of the community. “We are committed to being good stewards of our community resources that we hold in the public trust, and we encourage all community members to help us continue to provide quality standards by supporting all three of our multi-disciplinary museums and sites,” says Dr. Booth.

To find out more about the Museums of Western Colorado, visit www.museumofwesternco.org. You may also contact Peter Booth, Ph.D., Museums of Western Colorado Executive Director, 970-242-0971 ext. 2204.

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