Museums Do That

Watch two compelling stories of the often misunderstood, and under-appreciated, value of museums.

Join the Alliance

Membership is the foundation for excellence and unites the field.

Small Museums Accreditation Academy

The Small Museums Accreditation Academy is a year-long Accreditation readiness program. 

“We are a new, small-sized museum and we have a steep learning curve. The information you sent is very helpful and I greatly appreciate the time you took to get this to me quickly.”

—Nancy Reed, Space Foundation Discovery Center

Small Museums

By any measure, the vast majority of the nation’s museums are small, with fewer than five staff. Small museums also make up the majority of Alliance members, as the chart below reveals. Whether a historic home or a children’s museum, these institutions are vital to their communities.

AAM is commited to supporting their work through its Small Museum Administrators Committee (SMAC) Professional Network and practical, accessible resources and programs. The resources provided assist museums with staff, board and volunteer training, programming and skill development, and methods to achieve excellence.

AAM Museum Membership, by Museum Staff Size

What does your museum need?

SMAC members recently told us their top needs/interest areas; strategic planning, building relationships and delivering creative programming, and managing resources. To help museums succeed in these areas, the Alliance offers the following resources. Many of these resources were created by small museums or are geared towards small museums.

Moving my museum forward (Strategic Planning resources)

Develop strategic plans, missions statements and plan for technology:

  • Sample Collections Management Policies, Collections Plans, Computer Policies, and Strategic Plans from the Alliance Information Center (Tier 3 museum members)
  • Sustaining Places collaborative resource project from the Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware and the Tri-State Coalition of Historic Places

Building relationships and developing creative programming (Community Engagement resources)

Develop new innovative programs and connect with other small museums and your community:

  • Sample Exhibit Guidelines, Social Media Policies, Interpretive Plans from the Alliance Information Center (Tier 3 museum members)

Managing resources/handling board, governance, collections and financial issues (Standards, Accountability and Ethics resources)

Achieve financial sustainability, handle board issues, care for collections:

  • Sample Codes of Ethics and Organizational Charts from the Alliance Information Center (Tier 3 museum members)
The Alliance collaborates with other organizations to provide museums networking opportunities and programs to help them operate according to standards and best practices.

Continuum of Excellence (Support and recognition for meeting standards)


Resources for small museums aren’t limited to the listings here. Small museums can also access hundreds of more resources and sample documents covering all areas of museum operation via the members only Information Center Resource Library. The Alliance offers different levels of membership to fit your museum’s budget and needs. Learn more…