October 19, 2015

Illinois State Museum System at Risk of Losing Accreditation; Commission Puts Museum on Probation

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA—Following the closure of the Illinois State Museum system on September 30 due to a state budget stalemate, the Accreditation Commission today voted unanimously to put the Illinois State Museum system on probation.

The Accreditation Commission, which held its regularly scheduled meeting at the American Alliance of Museums headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, considered a motion by Commissioner Kenneth Schutz to place the Illinois State Museum system—which has been accredited since 1972 and has been re-accredited four times—on probation pending further information from the museum system on its status.

After the 7-0 vote, Commission Chair Burt Logan issued the following statement

The actions by the Illinois state government that forced the Illinois State Museum system to close to the public left us no choice but to place this museum on probation pending further information from the museum system.  We have grave concerns about the impact of this closure on the long-term viability of the museum, including affecting its ability to retain a professional staff and operate at the highest professional level; impairing the museum’s ability to care for the 13.5 million specimens in its collection; impacting donor support; risking its role as a major educational resource in the state of Illinois; and harming its reputation as a premier international museum and research institution.  The Commission will review the museum’s status at its next meeting, and looks forward to a status report from the state of Illinois as to how these concerns are being addressed.”

Accreditation is the highest mark of distinction in the museum field, with just 1,043 museums achieving this preeminence nationwide. In order for a museum to maintain its accreditation, it must meet the criteria set forth in the Characteristics of Excellence, which include providing public access to its collections; ensuring that the composition, qualifications, and diversity of the museum’s leadership, staff, and volunteers enable it to carry out the museum’s mission and goals; and compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws.


Erica Nash-Thomas, 240-535-6548