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BYU's Monte L. Bean Museum Receives National Accreditation

"Our reaccreditation for another 15 years clearly documents that we are among the best”

The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at Brigham Young University has achieved accreditation from the American Association of Museums, the highest national recognition for a museum. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies and to the museum-going public.

Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, only 775 are currently AAM accredited, and the Bean Life Science Museum is one of only five museums accredited in Utah.

“The Bean Life Science Museum was originally accredited by AAM in 1997, a singular honor," said Larry St. Clair, museum director. "More than four years ago we initiated the process of reaccreditation, a demanding and time-consuming exercise that caused the museum staff to thoughtfully reflect on our mission and to carefully scrutinize our professional commitment to our stakeholders and patrons. We discovered that we are absolutely dedicated to best practices and the highest museum standards.""Our reaccreditation for another 15 years clearly documents that we are among the best,” he said.

AAM accreditation is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability, and earns national recognition for a museum for its commitment to excellence in all that it does: governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM’s Museum Accreditation Program strengthens the profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely and provide the best possible service to the public.

“Accreditation assures the people of Utah that their museum is among the finest in the nation,” said Ford W. Bell, AAM president. “As a result, the citizens can take considerable pride in their homegrown institution, for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community.”

Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a yearlong self-study and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, reviews and evaluates the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes three years.

The Bean Life Science Museum is the repository for 10 biological research collections valued at more than $45 million. These collections support the research efforts of the faculty in the College of Life Sciences while providing critical information and data to research scientists all over the world.

The museum’s exhibits and education programs support science-based learning for children from local school districts while enhancing teaching and learning experiences for faculty and students on the campus of BYU.

For more information about the Bean Life Science Museum, visit the website at or call (801) 422-5051.

With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional and 300 corporate members, AAM has been operating since 1906 to ensure 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 on AAM, visit


Original article published January 25, 2011, can be found here.