City of Alexandria’s Museum System Awarded Reaccreditation from American Alliance of Museums
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) announced that the City of Alexandria’s Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) museum system was reaccredited at the February 2023 meeting of AAM’s Accreditation Commission. Accredited status from the Alliance is the highest national recognition achievable by an American museum.
“Alexandria’s identity is deeply rooted in our history, and the Office of Historic Alexandria is carrying the mantle of preserving and honoring that history,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “From collecting our community’s oral histories to promoting our City’s centuries of history through a modern lens and a vision for the future, OHA continues their record of excellence.”
Accreditation recognizes high standards in individual museums and ensures that museums continue to uphold their public trust. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for more than 50 years, the Alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability.
“The Office of Historic Alexandria is doing extraordinary work to steward the historic sites within its system, in addition to providing expertise and resources to other non-collection, non-owned sites,” said Amy Bartow-Melia, Interim Chair of AAM’s Accreditation Commission, in a letter to OHA. “We commend the innovative work connecting collections and preservation to science and public education.”
Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, only 1,100 are currently accredited. To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a self-study and then undergo a site visit by a two-person team of peers. The Accreditation Commission, an autonomous body of museum professionals appointed by the Alliance Board, uses the self-study, site visit report, and its collective expertise to determine whether to grant accreditation.
The Office of Historic Alexandria is only one of three municipal organizations in Virginia accredited as a museum system, alongside Fairfax County Park Authority Resource Management Division and City of Newport News Historic Services.
About the Office of Historic Alexandria
The Office of Historic Alexandria preserves and shares the past to enrich the present and inspire the future. OHA shares these stories through museums and landscapes as well as tours, exhibitions, and a variety of public programs. Museums include the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, Alexandria Black History Museum, Alexandria’s History Museum at the Lyceum, Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site, Freedom House Museum, Friendship Firehouse Museum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. Additional spaces including the African American Heritage Park, Archives and Records Center, Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery, Murray-Dick-Fawcett House, Lloyd House, and Union Station collectively tell the story of the City. Urban archaeology also plays an active role in uncovering and interpreting Alexandria’s history, recovering artifacts before they are lost to construction. OHA enhances the quality of life for City residents and visitors and is a partner in the City’s equity and inclusion initiatives. For more information about the Office of Historic Alexandria, visit alexandriava.gov/Historic.