Five Delaware state museums achieve national accreditation

Five state-run museum sites join Hagley Museum and Winterthur as the only accredited museums in Delaware.

After a year of self-study plus site visits by peer reviewers, Five Delaware state museums have been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The newly accredited sites are John Dickinson Plantation near Kitts Hummock, the Johnson Victrola Museum and Old State House in Dover, the New Castle Court House Museum, and the Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes.

“We now count ourselves among that elite company along with many other museums across the United States,” said Tim Slavin, director of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. “[Nationally], there are 33,000 museums, roughly a little more than 1,000 or 3 percent have achieved this accreditation and it’s a wonderful tribute to all of my colleagues.”

Museum officials gathered at the New Castle Court House Museum to celebrate the recognition which state leaders hope will encourage residents and travelers to make plans to visit one or all of the sites.

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“I can’t think of anything more important than preserving- saving as your shirts say- Delaware history,” Gov. John Carney told people gathered in New Castle for the announcement. “That’s what this recognition is all about. The accreditation from the highest level, comparing us with or keeping us to a standard with all the first rate museums across the country and the private museums here in our state.”

Accredited museums must go through a re-accreditation process every ten years.

Hagley Museum near the birthplace of the DuPont Company in Wilmington has been accredited by the AAM since 1972. Winterthur Museum, the childhood home of Henry Francis du Pont was recently recognized by the AAM as the first museum in the nation to receive accreditation for a fifth consecutive time.

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