Arizona Historical Society Receives Highest National Recognition

The Arizona Historical Society (AHS) has achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public. The Arizona History Museum in Tucson was initially accredited in 2006. All museums must undergo a reaccreditation review at least every 10 years to maintain accredited status. In 2020, AHS applied for and received accreditation for all four museums: Arizona Heritage Center at Papago Park in Tempe, Arizona History Museum in Tucson, Pioneer Museum in Flagstaff, and the Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens in Yuma.

Alliance Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 50 years, the Alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and remain financially and ethically accountable in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

Executive Director Dr. James Burns shared, “The Arizona Historical Society is honored to receive AAM accreditation. This achievement has been years in the making as the staff and board worked incredibly hard to shift the organization’s path to stay relevant and connect people through the power of Arizona’s history. This distinction in the museum field will help AHS continue on a bright path forward.”

Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, over 1080 are currently accredited. The Arizona Historical Society is one of only 16 museums accredited in Arizona.

“Accreditation is validation of this organization’s commitment to excellence in collections care, exhibition development, and programming. This achievement will increase our credibility and value as a trusted authority on Arizona history within the industry, our communities, policy makers and potential donors.” , said AHS Board President, Linda Whitaker.

Accreditation is a very rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. The Alliance’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, considers the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation.

“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura L. Lott, Alliance President and CEO. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”

About the Arizona Historical Society

Mission: Connecting people through the power of Arizona’s history.

The Arizona Historical Society (AHS) is a nonprofit organization and state agency established in 1864. AHS collects, preserves, and tells the story of Arizona’s past through museum exhibitions, libraries and archives, historic sites, educational programs such as National History Day Arizona, and the Journal of Arizona History. AHS seeks to be the driving force strengthening Arizona’s communities by promoting history through leadership, partnership, and scholarship.

Pioneer Museum (2340 N. Fort Valley Rd., Flagstaff, AZ)

Arizona Heritage Center at Papago Park (1300 N. College Ave. Tempe, AZ)

Arizona History Museum (949 E. 2nd St., Tucson, AZ)

Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens (240 S. Madison Ave., Yuma, AZ)

For additional information, visit

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