Sarah Evans can’t imagine how other high school students figure out what they want to study in college.
Evans has Cincinnati Museum Center
to thank for the ease of her choice. The 2012 Madeira High School graduate will study archeology when she start classes this fall at the University of Cincinnati.
Evan has been involved in the Museum Center’s Youth Program
since was 13 years old, logging an incredible 6,000 or so hours working in each of the center’s three museums. The program is intended to teach teens about museum work and prepare them for college.
“I’m what they call a regular,’’ she says. “I just love our staff. It’s really a place of opportunity and friendship. It’s become a huge part of my life. It has definitely influenced 100 percent of what I want to study in college.”
The youth program
was one of two programs specifically lauded as a national model by the American Association of Museums
in its recent accreditation of the Museum Center at the historic Union Terminal in the West End. The Learning Through Play
annual conference that brings parents and teachers to the museum to discuss the importance of play in education was also singled out as a model of excellence.
The recognition puts the center in elite company. Just 4.5 percent of the nation’s 17,000 have won accreditation, which is voluntary and is the highest recognition for a museum. The three-year process examined every facet of the Museum Center’s operation, including finances, governance, programs and programming, stewardship of its vast collection as well as its professional standards.
“It’s really the best news for us. It’s a validation of our peers that we are doing things right,’’ says Elizabeth Pierce, museum vice president of marketing and communications. “We are delighted.”
The Museum Center had to wait to apply for accreditation after the merger of the Museum of Natural History and Science,
which had been accredited. And while accreditation is on a five-year cycle, the Museum Center will be reviewed in 2014 due to the merger with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
, she says.
“Accreditation assures the people of Cincinnati that their museum is among the finest in the nation,’’ says Ford W. Bell, president of the AAM. “Citizens can take considerable pride in their homegrown institution, for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community.”
The distinction comes just three years after the Museum Center was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service
, making it only one of 16 organizations in the United States to have both.
“We really are in good company,” Pierce says. “I hope this reinforces to the community that we are an organization of quality; that we are doing our job well, and we are respectful of donations and we invest in this organization.”
Evans, who is also the outgoing president of the center’s youth advisory council, hopes the accreditation will mean continued success for the Youth Program.
“I would say to youth: The more you give to the program, the more the museum can give back to you,” she says. “You will be repaid far more in your future.”
• Watch a video
of teens involved in the Youth Program.
• Join or renew
• Follow them on Facebook
Chris Graves is the assistant vice president of digital and social media at the Powers Agency.