Penobscot Marine Museum has again achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums. The highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums, AAM accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, government agencies, donors, grant-making foundations and the museum-going public.

The museum was initially accredited in 1989. All museums must undergo a reaccreditation review at least every 10 years to maintain accredited status. AAM accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely and remain financially and ethically accountable — all in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

AAM accreditation is an important seal of approval for museums across the country, said outgoing Penobscot Marine Museum executive director Niles Parker.

“For the past three and a half years, PMM has been hard at work re-writing and implementing new policies and procedures across all areas of our operations as we have sought re-accreditation,” he said.

Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, 775 are currently accredited. Penobscot Marine Museum is one of only 10 accredited museums in Maine. Accreditation is a rigorous but rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, considers 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 as much as three years.

Accreditation is emblematic of an institution’s commitment to public service and to overall excellence,” said Ford W. Bell, AAM president adding “Attaining accreditation involves taking a hard look at yourself, allowing your peers in the field to do the same and being judged to be superior in all areas. The people of Searsport and the Penobscot Bay area can take great pride in the fact that their local institution is one of America’s premier museums.”

With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional, and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to