HPMEC Earns Accreditation

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center of Piggott, an Arkansas State University Heritage Site, has achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies and to the museum-going public. This is the first A-State Heritage Site to become accredited by this organization.

Alliance Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for over 45 years, the Alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and remain financially and ethically accountable in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

"We are very proud of what the museum has accomplished, and we are especially proud that the reviewers highlighted the strength of our ties to the community through our advisory committee, through our volunteers, and through other partnerships,” said Dr. Adam Long, director of HPMEC. “We have long known the strength of these ties, and we are pleased to see that they stand out even in comparison with some of the greatest museums in the country."

Accreditation is a very rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. The Alliance’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, considers the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. The next self-study period for HPMEC is in 2026.

Dr. Ruth Hawkins, executive director of A-State Heritage Sites, added, “This process has involved several years of hard work on the part of the staff and the Advisory Council, and it is remarkable what they have accomplished. It is a monumental achievement that this museum was recognized in the AAM site visit report as playing a stellar educational and cultural role in the region, as well as being a player in the national and international literary community.”

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott includes a barn studio associated with Ernest Hemingway and the family home of his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. Pauline’s parents, Paul and Mary Pfeiffer, were prominent citizens of Northeast Arkansas and owned more than 60,000 acres of land. During the 1930s the barn was converted to a studio to give Hemingway privacy for writing while visiting Piggott. Portions of one of his most famous novels, A Farewell to Arms, and several short stories were written in this studio.

The peer review team representing AAM visited the site in March and noted the educational role that the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center plays is a model for all museums and is the very epitome of the role museums should hold—especially in small communities. Using the house museum as a launch for hands-on learning and creative expression, the staff has developed and conducted educational initiatives which are outstanding and serve a majority of demographics.

The team also recognized in its report, “it is important to note that the museum has become a significant player in the educational, cultural, and economic life of its immediate community and is rapidly showing impact in the regional heritage and geotourism industries. Further, the museum is a destination for national and international literature tourism and serves as a training environment for heritage preservation and as a focal point for scholarly literature research.“

“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.”

Tours through the HPMEC begin at 9 a.m. until the last tour of the day at 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The museum is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays through Labor Day weekend, and then will return to the 1-3 p.m. hours. The center is closed on Sundays, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day Weekend and Independence Day. Those wanting additional information may call 870-598-3487.

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