American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), formerly the American Association of Museums,[2] is a non-profit association that has brought museums together since founding in 1906, helping develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and advocating on issues of concern to the museum community. 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.

American Alliance of Museums
AAM logo
TypeNon-Profit Association
FocusMuseums, including professionals and volunteers
Area served
United States of America

AAM is the only organization representing the entire scope of museums and professionals and nonpaid staff who work for and with museums. AAM currently represents more than 25,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, 4,000 institutions and 150 corporate members. Individual members span the range of occupations in museums, including directors, curators, registrars, educators, exhibit designers, public relations officers, development officers, security managers, trustees and volunteers.

Every type of museum is represented by the more than 4,000 institutional members, including art, history, science, military, maritime, and youth museums, as well as public aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, arboretums, historic sites, and science and technology centers.

At the 2014 American Alliance of Museums conference, the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced there are now at least 35,000 museums in the US.[3]


An informal meeting was held at the National Museum in Washington, D. C. on December 21, 1905, for the “purpose of discussing the advisability of endeavoring to establish an association of the museums of America.”[4]

  • 1906: Foundation
  • 1911: Directory of North and South Jamerican museums published
  • 1923: Headquarters established in Washington, D.C. (offices in the tower of the Smithsonian Castle)
  • 1925: Code of Ethics for Museum Workers adopted
  • 1925: $2,500 grant from the Carnegie Corporation for research on museum fatigue
  • 1927: Laurence Vail Coleman, President (1927–58)
  • 1958: Joseph Allen Patterson, President (1958–67)
  • 1961: Museum directory published (4,600 institutions)
  • 1964: Museums included in the National Arts and Cultural Development Act
  • 1966: National Museum Act passed
  • 1968: Belmont Report recommends developing accreditation program to help support museums, Kyran M. McGrath, President (1968–75)
  • 1969: Accreditation program created on recommendation of a committee chaired by Holman J. Swinney
  • 1969: 1975: Richard McLanathan, President (1975–78)
  • 1971: The Public Museum of Grand Rapids and fifteen additional museums are the first accredited
  • 1976: New constitution adopted
  • 1978: Lawrence L. Reger, President (1978–1986)
  • 1980: Museum Assessment Program (MAP) created on recommendation of a committee chaired by E. Alvin Gearhardt, with MAP supported through a cooperative agreement with IMS, the Institute of Museum Services (later renamed IMLS, the Institute of Museum and Library Services)
  • 1986: Edward H. Able, President (1986–2006)
  • 2003: Launch of the Nazi Era Provenance Internet Portal (NEPIP)[5][6]
  • 2006: Year of the Museum – 100th anniversary of AAM
  • 2007: Ford W. Bell, President (2007-2015)
  • 2009: First Comprehensive Strategic Plan “The Spark” adopted
  • 2012: Name changed to "American Alliance of Museums"[2]
  • 2015: Laura L. Lott, President (2015- )

Media & Technology Committee

Media&Technology (M&T) is a Professional Network of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), a leading museums organization in the United States. The M&T Network is the AAM link between museums and media technologies. As such, it identifies, examines, and advocates appropriate uses of media technologies in helping museums meet the needs of their diverse publics. Membership is limited to institutions or individuals that are members of AAM. The mission of the M&T is "to identify, access, and advocate a broad variety of program uses for media and technology in helping museum professionals meet the needs of their diverse publics".[7]

Strategic Plan

"The Spark" is the first comprehensive strategic plan in AAM’s recent history. It articulates a vision for museums, the field and AAM. The mission highlights AAM's commitment to leadership, advocacy, collaboration and service.[8]

"The Spark" contains four goals: excellence, advocacy, sustainability and alignment.



  • Charles R. Richards (1923–27), director of Cooper Union
  • Laurence Vail Coleman (1927–58)
  • Joseph Allen Patterson (1958–67)
  • Kyran M. McGrath (1968–75)
  • Richard McLanathan (1975–78)
  • Lawrence L. Reger (1978–1986)
  • Edward H. Able (1986–2006)
  • Ford Watson Bell (2007-2015)
  • Laura L. Lott (2015- )

See also


  1. "Guidestar Profile for American Alliance of Museums". Guidestar Profile. Guidestar by Candid. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  2. Blanton, Dewey (5 September 2012). "American Association of Museums Is Now the American Alliance of Museums". Press Release. American Association of Museums. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  3. Government doubles official estimate - Institute of Museum and Library Services
  4. "Carnegie Museum of Natural History: 1907 American Association of Museums Meeting Identifications". Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-05-21. Retrieved 2017-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal".
  7. Phyllis Hecht. "Multimedia Awards for Museums: MUSE, A Case Study" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  8. "Strategic Plan". American Alliance of Museums. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
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