It has certainly been a remarkable few years for the KMA: the completion of a successful capital campaign; the unveiling of Richard Jolley’s Cycle of Life, the world’s largest figural glass installation; the completion of comprehensive building renovations; and the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the museum’s 1990 opening in the landmark Clayton Building. Adding to that impressive list of achievements, the museum has again achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum. This is the KMA’s third accreditation, a status it first attained in 1995. In its notification letter, the AAM Accreditation Commission noted that the KMA “demonstrates best, and often exemplary, museum practices in many areas… We commend the museum for taking a risk and employing a smart strategy to focus its exhibitions and collections on the art and artists of East Tennessee as a way to strengthen community participation and support. Likewise, new educational programs and free admission show the institution’s commitment to better connect with the regional community.”
AAM reaccreditation is a resounding affirmation of the KMA’s strategic direction and in the community’s capacity and will to support a first-rate cultural organization. This honor reflects years of hard work and dedication by paid and volunteer staff and extraordinary and sustained commitment by the museum’s stakeholders and its board leadership over the past decade. We are particularly grateful to departing board chair Bernie Rosenblatt for seeing us through an eventful and productive two years, and are looking forward to working with his successor, Richard Jansen, who continues a great tradition of outstanding volunteer leadership. He will enjoy the support of incoming board members Mary Beth Browder, John Cotham, Monica Crane, Shohreh Hashemian, Courtney Lee, Madeline McAdams, Ellen Robinson, Richard Stair, Rosa Toledo, John Trotter, and Ron Watkins who are beginning their first three-year term. For a complete list of KMA board members, visit http://www.knoxart.org/info/trustees.html. 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 nearly 45 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 in order to provide the best possible service to the public. Of the nation’s nearly 17,500 museums, only about 1,000 are currently accredited. For more information about AAM accreditation and its significance, visit www.aam-us.org.