Accreditation signifies excellence within the museum community and recognizes an institution’s commitment to good stewardship of resources as well as its pursuit of continual institutional growth and public accountability to its guests, community, governments, funders, and outside agencies.
Accreditation is a rigorous 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 rigorous 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 receives accreditation.
Of the estimated 33,000 museums in the United States, fewer than 1,100 are currently accredited — about 3 percent of all museums. The Neon Museum is one of only six museums now accredited in Nevada.
“The Neon Museum is a truly unique institution,” AAM stated in its accreditation commendation. “The professionalism of the staff and invigorated education team, combined with the iconic Las Vegas sign collection, make The Neon Museum a leader in the care and collection of these objects. We also commend the museum’s thoughtfulness in pivoting its programming during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to reach audiences.”
The Neon Museum executive director Aaron Berger said AAM accreditation is an “extraordinary achievement” that brings national recognition to the museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.
“This recognition places the museum in the highest echelon, cementing its status alongside our nation’s preeminent museums,” stated Berger. “It’s particularly notable that just as Las Vegas has come into its own in terms of professional sports, our world-class city is also growing the diversity and breadth of its cultural offerings. With this accreditation, The Neon Museum takes its rightful place as one of Las Vegas’ most exceptional museums, offering an experience unlike anything else in the city or the world.”
Applauding The Neon Museum’s dedicated and talented museum staff for its hard work on the accreditation process over the past two-plus years, Berger especially commended interim executive director Bruce Spotleson, who ensured the museum lived up to AAM’s high standards every day, even during the pandemic.
Berger noted that accreditation also enables The Neon Museum to bring more exhibitions and significant works of art from other accredited institutions around the world to the museum, which typically welcomes more than 225,000 local, national and international visitors a year. “Accreditation also will bolster the Museum’s fundraising efforts as it plans for an expansion to the Reed Whipple Cultural Center,” he said.
“The Neon Museum has been instrumental in showcasing and preserving the work of the artists who lit up the Southern Nevada landscape and captivated millions of visitors over many decades. As a longtime supporter of The Neon Museum, I’m proud to see that they have received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and I congratulate museum staff on their strong stewardship of our history,” said Rep. Dina Titus who has previously helped secure federal resources for the museum. “This recognition places The Neon Museum alongside other unique national attractions and furthers Las Vegas’ reputation as a world class entertainment, culture, and arts destination.”