JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –The U.S. Army Medical Department Museum was recently re-accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). This important milestone means the museum continues to meet national standards and best practices for United States museums. In the United States, there are 35,000 museums. Only 1,087 have received AAM accreditation. The AMEDD Museum joins other world-renowned San Antonio museums such as the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the McNay Art Museum.
The AMEDD Museum, has been working on re-accreditation since 2017. The museum was first accredited in 2003. Usually re-accreditation is done every 10 years, however, due to the economic downturn in 2007 the AAM gave five year extensions to museums in order to assist them through the economic difficulties. For this reason, the AMEDD Museum began the re-accreditation effort in 2017 and began submitting our required documents in 2018.
The accreditation process is a detailed, multi-step process that is intense under normal circumstances. With the museum changing from the U.S. Army Medical Command to the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence in 2018, along with the transformation of the MEDCoE to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command in fiscal year 2020, this task became exponentially more involved and difficult. The documents required by AAM such as the ethics, collections, emergency plan, and strategic plan policies had to be modified or re-written with each change of command structure. Each move required a new set of documents and revision and review of all major procedure and policy documents. Accreditation under these difficult circumstances makes the accreditation even more meaningful to the museum staff.
“I have been directing an AAM museum since 2002, first in Maryland and now in San Antonio,” said George Wunderlich, Director of the U.S. Army Medical Department Museum, of this important goal. Wunderlich has been on the board of three other AAM accredited museums. “I believe that the importance of national accreditation cannot be over emphasized,” he continued. “To know that the AMEDD Museum staff, the AMEDD Museum Foundation, and the MEDCoE were able to overcome the difficulties of repeated organizational changes and meet the rigorous standards of the AAM is highly gratifying. It is an honor to work with such a great team and support such a great mission.”
In the re-accreditation letter the AAM Accreditation Commission stated the museum did an admirable job addressing the issues identified in the original tabling decision. In particular, the work done to broaden the museum’s appeal beyond the military audience and engage community resources and leaders in planning is commendable. Reaccreditation means the museum continues to meet National Standards and Best Practices for U.S. Museums and remains a member of a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence. Through a rigorous process of self-assessment and review by its peers, the museum has shown itself to be a good steward of its resources held in the public trust and committed to a philosophy of continual institutional growth.
“This distinction is a guarantee to the Army, the Museum's visitors and supporters, and the American public, that the Museum holds the highest standards of excellence in all areas of Museum operation,” said Wunderlich. “We are dedicated to the good stewardship of the funds and collections entrusted to our care, and we are dedicated to the educational mission of the museum for all. This accreditation is not simply an achievement, it is a dedication to continue to strive for continued excellence and service to the communities we serve: Military, civilians, students, and the public.”
To learn more about the Army Medical Department Museum please visit their website at https://ameddmuseum.amedd.army.mil/.