The Osage Nation Museum completed its assessment program through the American Alliance of Museums this summer, which will empower the museum to meet and exceed the highest professional standards in the museum field.
According to an ON Communications news release, the ONM was accepted into the AAM’s Museum Assessment Program in January 2016. Over the course of four months, staff at the museum worked with members of other ON departments and Osage constituents to complete a self-study workbook.
On June 9, a peer-reviewer visited the ONM for an intensive tour and full day of meetings with the ONM staff and MAP team. Dr. Neal Hitch, the selected peer-reviewer, is the director at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum in Ocotillo, Calif. Hitch provided the ONM with a wealth of feedback in all aspects of the museum. The ONM received the final MAP report on July 30 and the report includes a critical analysis of Dr. Hitch’s findings along with a suggested list of priorities and tasks designed to implement improvements at the museum.
The MAP report included statements praising the ONM for the quality of its exhibits, graphics and promotional material, public programs, and future vision, according to the release. About the recent renovations, Hitch said, “I had a hard time believing the building improvements were new when I saw them, as they create functional and professional spaces that seem perfect for the facility.”
The MAP report also brought some issues to light and provided guidance on how to improve upon certain aspects of the museum including prioritizing cataloging the museum’s collection, expediting the creation of specific policies and their relevant procedures, and diversifying the museum’s budget through fundraising and grants.
Out of these MAP recommendations, the museum is already drafting a Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program grant application and finalizing drafts of certain policies and procedures, the release said.
August 2016 marks the ONM’s second round of completion with this program. The ONM, formerly the Osage Tribal Museum, participated in the MAP program in 1994 under the direction of then-curator E. Sean Standingbear.
“Even though the ONM has completed this program before, going through the program now has been crucial in understanding how far we’ve progressed since January and served to better guide us moving forward,” said ONM Curator Hallie Winter. “We have a firmer grasp on our goals supported by Dr. Hitch’s commentary and suggestions. We can use this assessment in applying for grants, seeking additional outside funding, and eventually for seeking accreditation by the AAM, which can help us receive loans from other institutions. Being accredited also means we are operating at the highest standards set by museum professionals, and that ultimately means our collections, the material we’re here to care for, will be around for generations to come.”
Original Publish Date: 2016-09-12 00:00:00