Stand for Your Mission

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Leading With Intent: Strengthening Museum Governance

Good governance is essential to the work of museum trustees and directors, providing the very foundation for the museum’s success. Together the board and the director set the direction of the museum, obtain and manage the resources needed for it to fulfill its mission and ensure that the museum is accountable to the public. Museum boards and trustees are the connective tissue that links the museum and its mission to the community it serves. AAM’s strategic plan calls for strengthening those connections by engaging museum boards and helping museum directors build and maintain the highest standards of good governance.

Some work by the Alliance with our partners Northern Trust and BoardSource includes:

  • We conducted a new national survey of museum directors and museum board chairs in October-November 2016 and got an outstanding response, with 1,700 museum directors and board chairs completing the survey. Based on a biennial BoardSource survey of nonprofit leaders, the survey will help us understand the demographics, operations, and effectiveness of museum boards. This survey will help museum leaders benchmark themselves against other museums and other nonprofits. Responses in aggregate form will be used to produce reports, papers, articles, and trainings on emerging trends and critical issues facing museum leaders.
  • A special program for trustees during Museums Advocacy Day. Trustees joined museum professionals, students and supporters for hands-on advocacy briefings and visits with lawmakers on Capitol Hill during Museums Advocacy Day in Washington, DC on February 27-28, 2017.

  • We will convene a Trustee Summit at the Alliance’s Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo in St. Louis in May 2017. An expert panel will discuss the results of the survey and explore best practices for museum governance.
Questions? Contact Kathy Dwyer Southern, director of special initiatives, at 202-289-9124 or email

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