By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 01, 2022 at 10:04 AM

Milwaukee Public Museum announced Monday that it has been reaccredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) for the first time in 15 years. The recognition is the highest such national distinction for American museums and is considered a mark of excellence.

Just under 1,100 of the U.S.’s roughly 33,000 museums – and only 21 in Wisconsin – are accredited.

The museum has not had accreditation since 2007 and last year the AAM tabled a decision on MPM reaccreditation due to deferred maintenance and inadequate facilities that could have affected care of the collections.

Before making its decision, according to a statement from MPM, AAM wanted to see, “a demonstration of efforts toward the long-term care for the collections entrusted to MPM.

“MPM collections staff, security, facilities and custodial teams have instituted rigorous efforts to ensure the safety of the artifacts and specimens in MPM’s care while the institution remains in its current location – efforts which have protected the collections from any irreparable damage.”

Part of the decision to build a new museum building, expected to be complete by 2026, was to create a safer environment for the collections and ensure future accreditation.

The new museum will also have a 50,000-square-foot off-site storage facility.

“For MPM, accreditation is essential to securing the future of this beloved institution and maintaining our status and collections as we look to the future,” said Dr. Ellen Censky, MPM President & CEO, in Monday’s statement.

“Achieving this milestone along with the launch of our $240 million Wisconsin Wonders fundraising campaign and the unveiling of our new Museum renderings will continue our momentum toward a Museum that future generations can enjoy. We look forward to building on the $110 million in financial support we have already received from the State of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County and generous private donors.”

Museums must undergo a rigorous process that digs deep into every aspect of a museum. That process begins with a year-long self-study, followed by a site visit by peer reviewers. Then – led an independent association of museum professionals considers both reports in deciding whether or not to bestow accreditation.

“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura L. Lott, Alliance President and CEO. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.