American Alliance of Museums | What It’s All About!


The Library of Congress, in Washington DC. Washington is host to the 2016 American Alliance of Museums annual conference.



American Alliance of Museums: What It’s All About




OK, so just WHAT IS the American Alliance of Museums (AAM)???



AAM – keeping the world safe.



Well, as the name suggests, it’s an association of UFO / Area 51 conspiracy theorists who run around with tinfoil hats all day long tellin’ anyone who’ll listen that JFK, Marilyn & Elvis were all abducted in a nefarious plan to take over the world.

OK, so it’s not actually any of that, folks.

What AAM IS is a far-sighted organization – one that’s been in existence for over a century! – that shares ideas for “best practices” in the fascinating worlds (plural on purpose!) of museums and historical societies just about everywhere.

In their own words:


AAM – What We Do:


“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 30,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, we are the only organization representing the entire scope of the broad museum community.”



A Few Quick Facts:


  • There are over 850 million visits to American museums per year—more than attendees of all major sporting events and theme parks combined
  • Museums directly contribute more than $21 billion to the national economy
  • 400,000 people nationwide  are employed by museums
  • Museums invest more than $2 billion a year in education



AAM members include staff and administration from just about every type of museum imaginable, from your local historical society down the street, to private scholars and educators (even though they have their own association!), all the way up to the largest and most well known institutions in the world, including:




  • art museums
  • history museums
  • science museums
  • military and maritime museums
  • youth museums
  • aquariums
  • zoos
  • botanical gardens
  • arboretums
  • nature centers
  • presidential libraries
  • planetariums
  • historic houses
  • historic sites
  • science and technology centers
  • museum-service companies
  • state museum associations
  • regional museum associations



A member of the register’s office at Cornell University’s Special Collections Library receiving recently acquired collections materials on a loading dock. From here skilled professionals (and often trained volunteers) will work to sort through, categorize, document and archivally preserve this material for safe long-term storage and/or display. Many different individuals and departments will eventually address this material before the public has a chance to see it, and all are tasked with ensuring it’s correct archival preservation. The EXACT SAME archival materials used by major museums and institutions such as the Library of Congress and Cornell University can be used by YOU as you strive to preserve YOUR OWN collections and family archives. (Please click on the image to go to our fully-illustrated blogs that clearly explain EVERYTHING you need to know!)



While the list above suggests the wide range of museums and institutional collections that fall under the AAM umbrella, it’s really the hard-working PEOPLE (please click here to go to our blog on Museums & Archives / The Day-to-Day Jobs) who make up the various DEPARTMENTS that characterize each member of the association, including:



People & Positions:

  • directors
  • curators
  • registrars
  • educators
  • exhibit designers
  • public relations officers
  • development officers
  • security managers
  • trustees
  • volunteers


Common Museum Departments:

  • curatorial management
  • exhibition planning and design
  • education / audience research & evaluation
  • media and technology
  • career management and human resources
  • development / fund raising & membership
  • facilities management
  • management and administration
  • marketing and community engagement



  museums     museums  
(Please click on the images above to go to our fully-illustrated blog on American Family Archives / Preserving Toys – Old & New.)



Yes, everything you could possibly think of has a special place in a museum or historical organization’s archive, and a staff that is trained to archivally preserve it for generations to come.

YOU can assume this role in the archival preservation of YOUR OWN collections. 



  museums     museums     museums  
Make sure that THIS…                                   doesn’t happen to THIS…                             …and you can end up with THIS!
(Please click on each image for more information.)



To facilitate this, we here at Archival Methods have published an entire series of dozens upon dozens of helpful illustrated blogs and short videos to point you in the directions YOU need to go to apply “museum-quality standards” to YOUR OWN stuff.

Go for it! Future generations will thank you, and we’re here to help you EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!




  museums     museums  
(Please click on the images above to see our fully-illustrated blog on Preserving Family Photo Albums.)





Contact Us

If you have any questions on preserving YOUR OWN collections, or would you like more information on any of our museum-quality archival storage and presentation materials, please contact us here at Archival Methods. We’re always there to help with any archiving, storage, or presentation questions you may have.

We would also like to encourage you to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and our large selection of informative and crisply-illustrated (and often humorous!) blogs for up-to-the-minute information, Archival Solutions of the Week (take a look at this archive for more info!), and stories of interest.

Lastly, we would like to encourage you to click here to sign up for weekly emails alerting you to our Archival Solution of the Week blogs! It’s easy & fast, and usually saves you 15%!