Accreditation Process and Timeline

For more detail, see:

Preparation/Application (First-Time Applicants)


    • Museum receives feedback from Alliance staff  and responds to requests for missing/additional information
    • Alliance Staff/Commission determine if the museum is ready for a site visit

    Site Visit

    • Museum reviews names of potential peer reviewers to serve as the Visiting Committee
    • Alliance selects the two person team
    • The Visiting Committee works with the museum to schedule a visit
    • The visit is 1.5 - 3 days
    • The Visiting Committee writes a report for the Accreditation Commission

      Accreditation Decision

      The Accreditation Commission reviews the museum's Self-Study and site visit report and makes one of the following decisions:
      • Grants accreditation (usually for 10 years)
      • Tables its decision for 1 year so specific issues can be addressed
      • Denies accreditation due to failure to meet multiple Characteristics of Excellence and/or for major systemic problems
      • Defers a decision to gather additional information
      Learn more about Accreditation Commission decisions.

      Within one month of the meeting, the museum receives a letter from the Chair of the Accreditation Commission with its decision. The museum also receives the Visiting Committee’s report, an official certificate and materials to help publicize the award.

      Total time from application to decision: Approximately 8 -16 months (unless tabled.)

      Museums undergo reaccreditation every ten years. (The Accreditation Commission, however, may designate a shorter cycle on a case-by-case basis.)