FCPA Sites Receive American Alliance of Museums Accreditation

Assurance that your Park Authority is serving you.         

CRM 1Colvin Run Mill

Schools are accredited to show they meet a certain level of educational excellence. The same is true of museums, and in 1979 the Fairfax County Park Authority became the first county agency in the nation accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Today, the news is even better.

AAM has announced that the Park Authority’s Resource Management Division (RMD) and four of its sites have received AAM accreditation. For nearly three years, we’ve been working toward re-accreditation. We completed a self-study and submitted it to the AAM in July 2016. Next was a visit from museum professionals who reviewed documents, interviewed staff and toured sites. The AAM representatives saw FCPA Collections at Walney Visitor Center in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park and at the Frey House, then visited Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria. They toured Sully Historic Site and Frying Pan Farm Park, spent time with the Park Board, and attended a reception attended by park advocates, volunteers and staff members at the county government’s Herrity Building, where the Park Authority’s main offices reside. Their final day was spent at Colvin Run Mill Historic Site and amid the archaeological collections at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church.

The AAM team filed a report, an AAM commission reviewed it, and accreditation officially was granted August 6, 2018.

Here’s what was accomplished:

  • Accreditation for RMD, which oversees Historic Artifact Collections and Archaeological Collections
  • Reaccreditation for Sully Historic Site, Colvin Run Mill, and Green Spring Gardens
  • First-time accreditation for Frying Pan Farm Park (pictured below)Frying Pan 2

“It is an honor and a privilege to have been reaccredited by the American Alliance of Museums,” said current Park Services Division Director Cindy Walsh, who headed the Resource Management Division during the reaccreditation process. “This validates our commitment to excellence and dedication to meeting the highest standards for our museums and collections. More importantly, it demonstrates our assurance to county residents that we will continue to preserve and protect Fairfax County’s important heritage.”

Colvin Run, Sully, and the Historic Artifact Collections were first accredited in 1979, and all were reaccredited in 1990 and 2002. Green Spring was included for the first time in 2002.

AAM establishes the standards through which museums are recognized for their commitment to excellence, accountability, and professionalism. The organization says that “as the ultimate mark of distinction in the museum field, accreditation signifies excellence and credibility.” AAM says that the designated Park Authority sites “have demonstrated they meet standards and professional practices, and have shown themselves to be core educational entities that are good stewards of the collections and resources they hold in the public trust.”

Sully 1Sully Historic Site

The AAM says there are about 33,000 museums in the United States. Of those, 1,070 are currently accredited.

AAM review assures residents that museums meet certain requirements under specific headings — Public Trust and Accountability, Mission and Planning, Leadership and Organizational Structure, Stewardship of the Collections, Education and Interpretation, Facilities and Risk Management, and Financial Stability.

Since the last time the agency was accredited, the Park Authority has implemented new recordkeeping databases for objects and plants, adopted the Professional Code of Ethics for Museum Operations, improved storage conditions with better housekeeping and environmental monitoring, and updated emergency plans and Friend Groups agreements.

Green Spring Manor house 1The Friends of Green Spring go by the acronym FROGS

AAM’s accreditation confirms that we manage our collections properly, are working to get better at our responsibilities, and are following current museum best practices and professional standards.

That accreditation tells you that we’re doing things the right way.

Author David Ochs is the Stewardship Communications Manager for the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Resource Management Division, and Co-Author Carol Ochs works in the agency’s Public Information Office.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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