Johnson County Museum celebrates first-ever national accreditation

Chairman Ed Eilert speaks at a podium at the Johnson County Museum's accreditation celebration

The Johnson County Museum recently celebrated a special honor: its first-ever national accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. This is the highest recognition museums can earn, with only 3% of museums nationwide earning accreditation.

Of the nation’s estimated 35,000 museums, just 1,095 are accredited – and only two in the Greater Kansas City area. The Johnson County Museum is one of 11 accredited museums in Kansas. Located in the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, the museum turns 55 years old this year.

Museum staff and the Board of County Commissioners celebrated the accreditation with a reception on April 4. Chairman Ed Eilert spoke at the event, recognizing the museum and its staff for this well-deserved accomplishment – one they worked three years to achieve.

Johnson County Museum staff pose with a physical certificate of accreditation with a museum display in the background

The Johnson County Museum’s service to the community

The museum’s accreditation is a reflection of several key factors, including public service, professionalism, excellence and partnerships. This ranges from the high quality of service provided to visitors to the optimal temperatures maintained for storage of artifacts.

The Johnson County Museum began its effort toward accreditation three years ago. Since then, the museum has overcome numerous challenges, navigating through a global pandemic, temporary museum closure and staff transitions.

Accreditors praised the museum’s director, Mary McMurray, stating she’s a “passionate, effective and respected executive director.” Without Mary – as well as the rest of the museum’s hardworking staff and volunteers – this honor would not have been possible.

The Johnson County Museum is founded on the strength of its volunteers, as it started with community volunteers dedicating their time to collecting, preserving and sharing the history of Johnson County. In 1986, the museum became a part of Johnson County Government and hired its first professionally trained staff.

Becoming Johnson County wall display with maps and photos

Planning your visit to the Johnson County Museum

Telling the story of Johnson County’s history, the Johnson County Museum features more than one million photographs, 20,000 artifacts, a children’s experience called KidScape and more. In addition to the main museum is the Lanesfield Historic Site in Edgerton.

The museum offers a variety of exhibitions and programs, including rotating special exhibitions. The current special exhibition, REDLINED: Cities, Suburbs and Segregation, explores the history of racially motivated redlining policies within area neighborhoods. It runs through January 7, 2023.

With its dense collection of local history and goal of serving and educating the community, the Johnson County Museum is proud to be one of less than 30 county museums in the country with national accreditation.

Learn more about the Johnson County Museum, and plan your visit today. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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