In July 2012, The Museum at FIT (MFIT) achieved accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition possible for a museum. The accrediting commission
found that the museum not only meets the National Standards and Best Practices for
a U.S. Museum, but also has one of the most important collections of its type and
is a good steward of its resources held in the public trust and committed to a philosophy
of continual institutional growth."
Of the nations estimated 17,500 museums, 781 are currently accredited (and only 120 are university museums). Therefore, The Museum at FIT joins an elite group that includes such well-known institutions as The Smithsonian in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Field Museum in Chicago, and The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Learn more about AAM
Since its establishment in 1969, The Museum at FIT has provided care and preservation for a sizable collection of fashion and textiles
while mounting annual exhibitions and programs to advance knowledge of fashion. Through
accreditation, MFIT has demonstrated its commitment to excellence in all aspects of
its operations: in its governance, public programming, strategic and financial planning,
collections stewardship, and its overall operations.
"While the museum has proven to be exemplary in all that it does -- a prerequisite for receiving accreditation -- it has placed forging community ties among its top priorities," said AAM president Ford W. Bell. "The museum has established strong bonds with local students, its residential neighbors, and with the university as a whole, always a critical issue for college and university museums. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is certainly one of New York's -- and the country's -- finest museums."
The Museum underwent a rigorous year of self-study process followed by a two day site-visit
by a team of outside museum professionals. The site visitors found the museum to meet
the characteristics of an accreditable museum, and in some ways to have exceeded them.
In particular, they praised MFITs small staff as well trained, professional and dedicated;
they identified the collections to be well organized and carefully preserved; and
they concluded that MFIT is truly a teaching museum in all senses of the word. Its
professional staff is deeply committed to the highest standards of original scholarship
at the same time that they work very hard to make all the collections accessible to
a broadly diverse audience. Learn more about AAM accreditation
As a university museum, The Museum at FIT prides itself on the essential role it plays in college life as well as in community relations. The Museum at FIT is an integral component of an FIT education and campus life, said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. However, it also is an important part of the Chelsea community, as well as a vital component of New York Citys cultural offerings and resources. The college is extremely pleased by the AAM's recognition of the museums quality and commitment to excellence. By achieving accreditation, The Museum at FIT has confirmed something many visitors likely already know: it is one of the truly outstanding museums in America.
MFITs priority is to use collections and exhibitions to advance knowledge of fashion. More than 7,000 students from FIT and other schools and colleges took part in classes held in the museum in 2011. In addition, the Museum hosts many free public programs and exhibition tours; the museum participates in the Chelsea Cultural Partnership; a Design Membership, available to industry professionals, affords access to the collections; the museum has over 600 objects online for study and dissemination; and a forthcoming book, to be published by TASCHEN, will feature photographs of more than 500 fashions from the museums collection, as well as photographs from many past exhibitions.
The commission particularly applauded the museums Presidential Scholars Museum Facilitators Program and the recent reorganization that resulted in the Department of Education and Public Programs that welcomes and responds well to the community.
The Museum at FIT is very proud to receive this distinction, noted director Dr. Valerie Steele. We sought accreditation through the AAM to emphasize the museums commitment to the core values and principles of collections stewardship. However, this recognition validates the dedication of our staff to the highest standards in all aspects of the museums operations, from governance and planning to exhibitions and public programming. We will continue to serve the FIT community, the Chelsea neighborhood, New York City, and the global fashion community by advancing knowledge of fashion, preserving this important collection, and mounting innovative and exciting exhibitions.
The Museum at FIT joins the ranks of 20 other prestigious accredited institutions in New York City, such as the American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Childrens Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Frick Collection, International Center of Photography, The Jewish Museum, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Library & Museum, Morris-Jumel Mansion, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, Museum of Arts and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the Moving Image, New York Botanical Garden, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of Art. Read the full press release