March 28, 2019

IMLS Funds New and Improved Assessment Program for Small, Mid-Sized Museums
Additional Assessment Opportunities, Mentorship Offered to U.S. Museum Sector

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services is pleased to announce funding for a redesigned Museum Assessment Program (MAP), a cooperative agreement with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) that will offer technical assistance and capacity-building support for small and mid-sized museums later this year.

Since its inception in 1981, MAP has helped more than 5,000 small and mid-sized museums of all types strengthen operations, plan for the future, and meet standards. The new MAP, developed through collaborative efforts between IMLS and AAM, continues to place a special focus on small museums while incorporating new and revised assessments to meet the changing needs of communities and improve program administration efficiency.

Funded by an IMLS National Leadership Grant for Museums, this two-year initiative will offer the following benefits to museums:

  • Five assessment options: Collections Stewardship, Community Engagement, Board Leadership, Education, and Organizational Capacity.
  • Support for 100 new museums, as well as follow-up assistance on assessment implementation to 50 past MAP participants.
  • Proactive outreach to recruit new MAP applicants from remote states and rural areas.
  • Additional guidance, including toolkits, peer mentoring, and support for implementing reviewer recommendations.
  • Recruitment of new peer reviewers to match the revised assessment options, as well formal training in peer review.
  • More frequent learning and sharing opportunities within the pool of MAP museums through informal conversations and networking opportunities.
  • Measurement of the short- and long-term impacts of MAP using a new customer satisfaction survey and process summary report from each museum.

“We’re pleased to launch this refreshed and robust model of MAP that has been revised with thoughtful analysis and learnings from the recent evaluation, and we’re looking forward to closely collaborating with AAM on the various enhancements to the program,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of the IMLS Office of Museum Services.

“IMLS has funded MAP over the years because we believe in continuous improvement strategies, not only to strengthen our programs but to help participating museums better serve their communities,” said Gangopadhyay.

MAP closely aligns with IMLS’s strategic goal of strengthening the capacity of museums and libraries to support and transform communities by:

  • Conducting assessments to identify opportunities and approaches for the sector to work with their communities in new and more effective ways;
  • Elevating best practices, sharing successes, and supporting continuous learning in the profession;
  • Supporting training and continuing education for staff, boards, and volunteers;
  • Cultivating cross sector partnerships, collaborations, and intermediaries to improve community wellbeing; and
  • Collecting data and developing data resources to help the sector identify and respond to community needs with a special emphasis on underserved communities.

For more information, please visit

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About American Alliance of Museums

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 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit

Museum Assessment Program