The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College has achieved accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum.
“Accreditation assures supporters that their museum is among the finest in the nation,” said Ford W. Bell, president of the AAM. “As a result, citizens can take considerable pride in their home-grown institution for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community.”
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is among the newest museums in the Tampa Bay region. It opened on the Tarpon Springs Campus in 2002 in an award-winning building.
The museum was established after a large collection of 20th Century artwork from the estate of Abraham Rattner was donated to the college in 1996 by Rattner’s stepson, artist Allen Leepa.
The museum began its work toward accreditation in 2004. Director Ann Larsen said the accreditation will allow the Leepa-Rattner Museum to attract better national exhibitions, increase financial support and raise the museum’s national profile.
Only about 1,000 of the country’s more than 17,500 museums have achieved AAM accreditation. “It puts us into the highest echelon of museums in the country,” she said.
Other Tampa Bay area museums with the accreditation include the Florida Holocaust Museum, The Henry B. Plant Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Salvador Dali Museum, Tampa Museum of Art and the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum.
Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations.
To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct extensive self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, review and evaluate the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it is a multi-year commitment that requires diligence of organizational leaders, staff, volunteers and other members of the museum’s community.
The commitment of St. Petersburg College to the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art speaks to the college’s vision and aspirations for its students and broader community.
Under the leadership of President Bill Law, the college has deepened its commitment by affirming that the arts are integral to the curriculum and essential to educating good citizens.
“There’s a growing body of research that shows that integrating arts into the classroom and a student’s experience significantly improves the learning capability of students,” said Conferlete Carney, provost of the Tarpon Springs Campus. “Students learn more when the arts are infused into the teaching.”
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is open daily except Mondays and major holidays. For more information visit www.spcollege.edu/museum or phone 727-712-5225.