The College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum has achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition.
Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, governments, financial supporters, outside agencies and the general public.
The museum initially began the accreditation process in 1991. All museums must undergo a re-accreditation review at least every 10 years to maintain accredited status.
AAM accreditation is the field's primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability, according CEU museum officials.
Accreditation earns national recognition for a museum's commitment to excellence in governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, professional standards and continued institutional improvement.
Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM's 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.
"We have one of the finest institutions in the country. Museums have changed how they operate greatly over the last 10 years. We have a highly talented and dedicated staff that make the museum unique among small museums and a treasure for our local community, students, tourists and international researchers alike," said director Reese Barrick. "The staff has worked diligently to build upon the foundation set by museum founder Don Burge and the multitude of volunteers over the past 48 years."
Of the nation's estimated 17,500 museums, 775 are currently accredited. Of more than 250 in Utah, five have achieved the distinction.
The CEU Prehistoric Museum is one of only two accredited community college affiliated facilities west of the Mississippi.
"Accreditation is emblematic of an institution's commitment to public service and to overall excellence," said Ford Bell, AAM president. "Attaining accreditation involves taking a hard look at yourself, allowing your peers in the field to do the same, and being judged to be superior in all areas. The people of Eastern Utah can take great pride in the fact that their local institution is one of America's premier museums."
Accreditation examines all aspects of a museum's operations. To earn accreditation, a museum must conduct a year of self-study then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM evaluates the study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation The process generally takes three years.