American Association of Museums Is Now the American Alliance of Museums

106-Year Old Organization Seeks to Better Serve, Unite America’s Museums

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 5, 2012)  ─ The American Association of Museums, the largest service and advocacy group for museums of all types and sizes, has changed its name to the American Alliance of Museums (the Alliance), and adopted a new tagline and logo. This is to better reflect the 106-year old organization’s mission of unifying the diverse museum field, championing its cause and nurturing excellence among all of America’s museums.


“Our new beginning and brand is designed to help us truly unite the museum field—from art museums to zoos and everything in between—so that we may more effectively advocate for the cause of museums,” said AAM president Ford W. Bell. “Speaking with one voice, the breadth of the U.S. museum field will be able to make the case that museums are essential to our educational infrastructure, essential to our economic prosperity, and essential to building communities everywhere.”

The change from “Association” to “Alliance” may seem simple, but it embodies the organization’s primary mission as it grows into its second century.

“By definition, an alliance is an entity forged for the mutual benefit of all,” said Meme Omogbai, chair of the Alliance board of directors and chief operating officer of the Newark Museum in New Jersey. “That is the essence of the new American Alliance of Museums – to re-ignite an organization into one whose aim is to benefit all: our museums, the individuals who work in them and the communities they serve.”

With the adoption of the Alliance strategic plan in 2009 – dubbed “The Spark” – the organization systematically surveyed the range of its membership to determine how it could best serve America’s museums.  This feedback informed an entirely new museum membership structure and a new Continuum of Excellence. Details for both the three-tiered membership structure and the Continuum of Excellence are available on the new Alliance website (

The new museum membership structure reflects the Alliance’s belief that uniting the field is paramount. It includes a basic membership tier, designed for the thousands of smaller institutions in the U.S. to  “pay what they can,” embracing a practice employed by many museums to allow all community members access to their collections.

The Continuum of Excellence’s mark of distinction is accreditation, also being re-designed to be more accessible and meaningful for all museums. The Alliance leadership and board of directors determined that a more high-profile accreditation program, with wider participation, can be an invaluable tool in conveying the essential nature of American museums to all levels of government and to the public. The new accreditation program will debut later in the year.

“Some may ask, after 106 years of supporting and building the museum community, why would we change our name and brand?” Bell said. “Simply, our new name signals our resolve to unite the museum field so that we can speak with one strong voice. We are no longer the trade association for museums, but rather the cause of museums.

“Moreover, our new brand goes far beyond mere cosmetics,” Bell continued. “Our brand as the American Alliance of Museums is emblematic of our commitment to advancing the cause of museums ─ as well as supporting those who work in museums, donate to them, or simply love them ─ and the communities served by America’s museums.”

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 18,000 individual, 3,000 institutional and 300 corporate members, the Alliance 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

Media Contact

Dewey Blanton
Alliance Communications