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Press Releases

Monday, August 15, 2011

SU's Ward Museum Earns National AAM Accreditation

Ward Museum of Wildfowl ArtSALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University’s Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art has achieved accreditation from the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum.

Accreditation signifies the Ward Museum has met and exceeded the highest standards of the museum field and is among the best institutions in the country.

“We welcome the entire community to join us in celebrating this achievement of excellence,” said Lora Bottinelli, Ward Museum executive director. “This would not be possible without our generous and loyal community, outstanding volunteers and dedicated staff. The museum’s future is bright due to the support from Salisbury University, our local community and beyond.”

To celebrate, free admission is offered Monday-Sunday, August 15-October 9. The museum has made many additions to its facility, exhibits and educational programs in the past year. This includes renovations to its signature roofline, which will be under construction this fall. These improvements reflect a commitment to engage the community and work toward the highest level of standards of the museum field. 

The museum hosts an accreditation celebration Friday, October 7 during the 14th annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo. Additional details about the dinner and ticket information are available on the museum’s Web site at

AAM accreditation is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability, and earns national recognition for a museum for its commitment to excellence in governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 40 years, AAM’s Museum Accreditation Program strengthens the profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and provide the best possible service to the public.

Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, 776 are currently accredited. The Ward Museum is one of only 13 museums accredited in Maryland and one of only three on the Eastern Shore. 

"The Ward Museum has proven itself to be among the nation's finest institutions, exceeding the standards of the museum field in all its operations, public programs and educational initiatives," said AAM president Ford W. Bell. "That's what AAM accreditation signifies. And since museums are all about serving their local communities, the Ward Museum is Exhibit A in this effort, preserving and interpreting a valued part of the culture of the Eastern Shore for the students of Salisbury University, the citizens of the region and the entire nation."

Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations.  To earn accreditation, a museum must conduct a year of self-study, and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, reviews and evaluates the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. 

The Ward Museum is nestled next to Schumaker Pond in Salisbury, surrounded by wildlife in the heart of the Atlantic Flyway. The museum was named in honor of Steven and Lemuel Ward, whose vision and artistry in carving decoys pioneered the transition in the role of the decoy from a working tool to an expressive wildfowl sculpture. The museum’s eight galleries and 4.5-acre waterfront campus bring art, nature and tradition within reach of visitors of all ages. The museum is open year-round with a diverse offering of nationally recognized special events, exhibitions and educational programs. To learn more about these programs, including membership and volunteer opportunities, visit

The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional, and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information visit

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