The American Association of Museums’ landmark study Excellence and Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums was based on the premise that every area of museum activity contributes to the essentially educational role of museums. As the only AAM-accredited museum in the area, the Museum of Art and Archaeology is committed to implementing the principles of Excellence and Equity in both principle and practice. Excellence and Equity proposes that museums should:
- Assert that museums place education—in the broadest sense of the word—at the center of their public service role. Assure that the commitment to serve the public is clearly stated in every museum’s mission and central to every museum’s activities.
- Reflect the diversity of our society by establishing and maintaining the broadest possible public dimension for the museum.
- Understand, develop, expand and use the learning opportunities that museums offer their audiences.
- Enrich our knowledge, understanding and appreciation of our collections and of the variety of cultures and ideas they represent and evoke.
- Assure that the interpretive process manifests a variety of cultural and intellectual perspectives and reflects an appreciation for the diversity of the museum’s public.
- Engage in active, ongoing collaborative efforts with a wide spectrum of organizations and individuals who can contribute to the expansion of the museum’s public dimension.
- Assess the decision-making processes in museums and develop new models that enable an expanded public dimension and a renewed commitment to excellence.
- Achieve diversity among trustees, staff, and volunteers to assure a breadth of perspective throughout the museum.
- Provide professional development and training for new and established professionals, trustees, and volunteers that meets [sic] the needs of the museum profession so that museums may carry out their responsibility to their diverse public.
- Commit leadership and financial resources—in individual museums, professional organizations, and training organizations and universities—to strengthen the public dimension of museums.
As the study noted, “these are complex challenges that require time, resources and commitment.” But they are also crucial to the role of museums in the community, and the role of the community in the development of museums as viable, integral and lasting institutions of learning.