Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art (SMCMoA) Earns Highest National Recognition

Awarded Reaccreditation from the American Alliance of Museums

Moraga, CA – Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art (SMCMoA) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded reaccreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded to museums in the United States. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and the museum-going public. SMCMoA was first granted accreditation in 1989. All museums must undergo a reaccreditation review every 10 years to maintain accredited status. 

Of the nation's estimated 33,000 museums, only 1,095 are currently accredited through this rigorous process that sets the professional standards of excellence for museums in the United States. Out of over 1,000 museums in California, SMCMoA is one of only 77 accredited in the state. 

Alliance Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 50 years, the Alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and remain financially and ethically accountable in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura L. Lott, Alliance President, and CEO. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”

​​Accreditation is a very rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn reaccreditation, SMCMoA first reviewed policies and core documents during a year of self-study and then underwent a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, considers the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. In the final report delivered to Director Lauren MacDonald, the accreditation committee indicated that the SMCMoA met all of the Alliance’s ratings for Museum Standards and Best Practices. 

“Only 16% of accredited art museums are associated with a college and university. Having a small but dedicated team of museum staff that strive towards professional excellence and reflect that as part of their work with students and campus collaborations is a powerful resource and educational tool. The award of accreditation is the mark of distinction in the museum field," shares Lauren MacDonald, Museum Director and Dean of the Library and Academic Resources. "Reaccreditation indicates that the museum is a core educational entity, a steward of the collections we hold in the public trust, and a vital cultural institution for the region.” 


About Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art (SMCMoA) 

SMCMoA cares for a permanent collection of over 4,500 objects including the most comprehensive oeuvre of landscape paintings by William Keith. The museum rotates exhibitions twice a year, showcasing the permanent collection, traveling exhibitions, and emerging California artists. SMCMoA is located in the Brother Cornelius Art Center on the Saint Mary’s College campus in Moraga, CA. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 to 4 p.m. during exhibition cycles. General admission and programs are free and open to all. The current exhibitions, Keith + Kari and Collective Memories: Stonecuts from Cape Dorset, are on display through December 12, 2021. New exhibitions open on February 16, 2022. Visit the museum website,, or call 925-631-4379 for updates and more information. 


About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance 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. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit


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