The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has again achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. The Freedom Center first received accreditation in 2014 and was reaccredited as part of a standard 10-year review process.
“Reaccreditation is a testament to the efforts of our team and the drive for excellence we share as an organization to be a community anchor and a keeper of our shared cultural history,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “We thank the committee for acknowledging our work and continued growth as an organization.”
Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, less than 2,000 – roughly 6% - are currently accredited. Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. It is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations through a year of self-study and a site visit by a team of peer reviewers.
“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura L. Lott, president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”
During their visit, reaccreditation reviewers noted the significant addition of an experienced curator to the Freedom Center’s team, adding to collections care and research capacities for the organization. The Freedom Center’s DEAI initiatives were also noted. The Freedom Center Teen Docent program, which offers Greater Cincinnati high school students the opportunity to improve their historical acumen and professional leadership skills in a museum environment, was recognized for creating a bridge of knowledge between the Underground Railroad Era and social justice movements of today. Additionally, the Freedom Center’s online DEAI presence and growing implicit bias programs were lauded for their reach into the community, schools, universities, corporations and professional sports teams.