The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, recently selected a new cohort of 79 museums to participate in its 2023 Museum Assessment Program, including the Escalette Permanent Art Collection at Chapman University. 

Since its inception in 1981, the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) has helped more than 5,000 small and mid-sized museums of all types strengthen operations, plan for the future, and meet standards. With 5 types of assessments available, over 60% of AAM-accredited museums have participated in the program.  

To participate in the Museum Assessment Program, museums choose from one of five institutional assessment types: Organizational, Collections Stewardship, Education & Interpretation, Community & Audience Engagement, or Board Leadership. All five assessment types are grounded in AAM’s Core Standards; are inclusive of Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI) issues as they relate to the assessment focus; help museums look at both functional and strategic aspects of their operations, and present focused learning modules and action plans for the museum to progress through; and include a peer-reviewed site visit. Over one-third of participating museums found the experience so valuable that they returned to participate another time in the Museum Assessment Program. 

“As a museum without walls, the Escalette offers open access to its stellar collection of Modernist sculpture and contemporary art. While it is a privilege to share the collection with thousands of people daily, this comes with unique challenges regarding collections care,” notes Escalette Director Fiona Shen. “We are grateful to IMLS for providing expertise and guidance in conserving and stewarding this invaluable resource at Chapman.” 

The benefits of participating in MAP are clear. Museums often gain clarity on an institutional roadmap or strategic plan, see positive impacts to their visitor experience or community response to their museum, grow in their ability to identify their strengths and challenges, or gain valuable assistance with updating museum policy, successes in fundraising, and other benefits.  

MAP is supported through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the American Alliance of Museums. Read more about the Alliance’s Museum Assessment Program and Continuum of Excellence. 

About the American Alliance of Museums 

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) is the only organization representing the entire museum field, from art and history museums to science centers and zoos. Since 1906, we have been championing museums through advocacy and providing museum professionals with the resources, knowledge, inspiration, and connections they need to move the field forward. 

For more information on the American Alliance of Museums, and the impact of museums, visit 

We invite you to explore all the works in the Escalette Collection by visiting our eMuseum

Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is the proud home of the Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art. The Escalette Collection exists to inspire critical thinking, foster interdisciplinary discovery, and strengthen bonds with the community. Beyond its role in curating art in public spaces, the Escalette is a learning laboratory that offers diverse opportunities for student and engagement and research, and involvement with the wider community. The collection is free and open to the public to view.