WILMINGTON — The Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center (QHC) at Wilmington College is the first museum or history center in southwest Ohio to earn national certification through the American Association for State and Local History’s (AASLH) Standards of Excellence Program (StEPs).
This designation is designed for small and medium-size history organizations that meet certain standards based upon benchmarks set by nationally recognized museums.
QHC Director Ruth Brindle was pleased to learn of the award and looks forward to continuing with AASLH’s self-study and assessment program.
“This is a really exciting accomplishment for the Quaker Heritage Center. The QHC is one of only a dozen history organizations in Ohio that received this certification — and the first in the southwest region of the state,” Brindle said, noting the Center opened in 2005.
The program is ongoing and assists organizations in advancing through various levels of excellence — bronze, silver and gold — in six pertinent sections. The process provides for assessing the museums’ policies and practices as benchmarked against national museum standards and best practices.
“We’ve incorporated these standards into our everyday work,” said Brindle, who cited the key role played by Sara Fisher, a member of the Ohio History Service Corps who has been working at the Quaker Heritage Center as a local history AmeriCorps member.
She said what makes AASLH certification so impressive is the association’s assistance in helping history organizations continue to improve. The QHC received bronze certificates for basic performance indicators in the “Audience” and “Stewardship of Collections” categories.
Next year, Brindle plans to submit for bronze certificates in the areas of “Interpretation” and “Management,” and the QHC has already begun work on incorporating standards in its “Mission, Vision and Governance” area.
By pursuing these certifications and adhering to the national best practices for museum professionals, the QHC serves as an example, ally, and professional resource to the other small to medium-sized historical organizations in the region and state.
“Once we’ve achieved the basic level in those five categories, then we’ll start taking steps to move up to the silver level in each,” she added.
Some of the other AASLH-certified history organizations throughout the United States include institutions ranging from the Texas Cotton Gin Museum to the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History and Firefighters Hall and Museum.
To find out more about the QHC’s exhibits and programs, visit www.wilmington.edu/the-wilmington-difference/qhc or search for “QuakerHeritageCenter” on Facebook.