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AAM Accreditation

In July 2012, The Museum at FIT (MFIT) achieved accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition possible for a museum. The accrediting commission found that the museum not only meets the National Standards and Best Practices for a U.S. Museum, but also has “one of the most important collections of its type” and is “a good steward of its resources held in the public trust and committed to a philosophy of continual institutional growth."

Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, 781 are currently accredited (and only 120 are university museums). Therefore, The Museum at FIT joins an elite group that includes such well-known institutions as The Smithsonian in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Field Museum in Chicago, and The Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

AAM accreditation
 Learn more about the AAM

Since its establishment in 1967, The Museum at FIT has provided care and preservation for a sizable collection of fashion and textiles while mounting annual exhibitions and programs to advance knowledge of fashion. Through accreditation, MFIT has demonstrated its commitment to excellence in all aspects of its operations: in its governance, public programming, strategic and financial planning, collections stewardship, and its overall operations.

"While the museum has proven to be exemplary in all that it does -- a prerequisite for receiving accreditation -- it has placed forging community ties among its top priorities," said AAM president Ford W. Bell. "The museum has established strong bonds with local students, its residential neighbors, and with the university as a whole, always a critical issue for college and university museums. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is certainly one of New York's -- and the country's -- finest museums."

The Museum underwent a rigorous year of self-study process followed by a two day site-visit by a team of outside museum professionals. The site visitors found “the museum to meet the characteristics of an accreditable museum, and in some ways to have exceeded them.” In particular, they praised MFIT’s small staff as “well trained, professional and dedicated;” they identified the collections to be “well organized and carefully preserved;” and they concluded that MFIT is “truly a teaching museum in all senses of the word. Its professional staff is deeply committed to the highest standards of original scholarship at the same time that they work very hard to make all the collections accessible to a broadly diverse audience.”

Learn more about AAM accreditation

As a university museum, The Museum at FIT prides itself on the essential role it plays in college life as well as in community relations. “The Museum at FIT is an integral component of an FIT education and campus life,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. “However, it also is an important part of the Chelsea community, as well as a vital component of New York City’s cultural offerings and resources. The college is extremely pleased by the AAM’s recognition of the museum’s quality and commitment to excellence. By achieving accreditation, The Museum at FIT has confirmed something many visitors likely already know:  it is one of the truly outstanding museums in America.”

MFIT’s priority is to use collections and exhibitions to advance knowledge of fashion. More than 7,000 students from FIT and other schools and colleges took part in classes held in the museum in 2011. In addition, the Museum hosts many free public programs and exhibition tours; the museum participates in the Chelsea Cultural Partnership; a Design Membership, available to industry professionals, affords access to the collections; the museum has over 600 objects online for study and dissemination; and a forthcoming book, to be published by TASCHEN, will feature photographs of more than 500 fashions from the museum’s collection, as well as photographs from many past exhibitions.

The commission particularly applauded the museum’s Presidential Scholars’ Museum Facilitators Program and the “recent reorganization that resulted in the Department of Education and Public Programs that welcomes and responds well to the community.”

“The Museum at FIT is very proud to receive this distinction,” noted director Dr. Valerie Steele. “We sought accreditation through the AAM to emphasize the museum’s commitment to the core values and principles of collections stewardship. However, this recognition validates the dedication of our staff to the highest standards in all aspects of the museum’s operations, from governance and planning to exhibitions and public programming. We will continue to serve the FIT community, the Chelsea neighborhood, New York City, and the global fashion community by advancing knowledge of fashion, preserving this important collection, and mounting innovative and exciting exhibitions.”

The Museum at FIT joins the ranks of 20 other prestigious accredited institutions in New York City, such as the American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Frick Collection, International Center of Photography, The Jewish Museum, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Library & Museum, Morris-Jumel Mansion, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, Museum of Arts and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the Moving Image, New York Botanical Garden, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of Art. 
 Read the full press release

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