Photo of sculptures outside in a garden with flowers. Text says Press Release Iowa State University University Museums Brunnier Art Museum Christian Petersen Art Museum Farm House Museum Anderson Sculpture Garden Art on Campus Collection

National Reaccreditation Awarded to University Museums, Iowa State University

emblem with text American Alliance of Museums Accredited Museum

AMES, IOWA – APRIL 18, 2024 – University Museums at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames, Iowa is pleased to announce it has again achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded to the nation’s museums. This accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public.

“University Museums and its unparalleled collection of public artwork on campus are a perennial point of pride for Iowa State University,” said President Wendy Wintersteen, ISU. “Thanks to the leadership of Lynette Pohlman and her team, the renewal of accreditation is an important step that reaffirms University Museums’ national reputation for sustained excellence, including its valuable contributions to our educational mission. This honor is a fitting start to begin celebrating University Museums’ 50th anniversary.”

A student dancing in front of a work of art
Students sitting on the ground outside around a sculpture of a ram. The students are drawing the sculpture

All five of the University Museums affiliates are included in the current accreditation. All museums must undergo reaccreditation, an extensive review and site visit, every ten years to maintain accredited status. The Brunnier Art Gallery first opened September 19, 1975 and was originally accredited in 1983. In 2019, the Brunnier underwent major renovations and became the Brunnier Art Museum, Scheman Building second floor, 1805 Center Drive, and has maintained accredited status. The Farm House Museum, 601 Farm House Lane, was built 1860–1863, was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1963, and then was established as a museum on July 4, 1976. The Christian Petersen Art Museum inside Morrill Hall, 603 Morrill Road, opened March 22, 2007. The Anderson Sculpture Garden outside Morrill Hall opened October 8, 2008. The Art on Campus Collection of public art across the 1900 acre campus began in the 1920s and was officially recognized as a University Museums affiliate in 1980. 

A student with a duster cleaning a glass chandelier
Student on a ladder taking a photo of paintings hung high in a hallway

“The University Museums staff is proud to have achieved and retained national museum accreditation for over 40 years, serving Iowa State students by integrating art into the curriculum, architecture and landscape of Iowa State University,” said Lynette Pohlman, Director and Chief Curator of University Museums.

A student watering flowers in front of a painted mural depicting flowers

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 since 1971, 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 to provide the best possible service to the public.

Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, 1,113 (less than 4%) are currently accredited, and only 16% of university/college museums are accredited. This places University Museums squarely in an elite professional pool meeting national standards of excellence to the highest possible levels.

“University Museums exemplifies a thriving museum system with a dedicated and competent staff,” said Marise McDermott, Chair of the AAM Accreditation Commission and President emeritus of Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas. “We commend the organization’s meaningful engagement with the community for how thoroughly its collections, exhibits, and programs are woven into the culture of Iowa State University. The Strategic Plan is also a model, it is exceptionally well-organized, combining innovation with sustainability.”

A crowd of students gathered around a person giving a lecture in a museum space

“Accreditation is the gold standard for museums—a significant achievement of which the institutions and their communities should be extremely proud,” said Brooke Leonard, AAM Interim CEO and Chief of Staff. “By undergoing reaccreditation, these museums have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to maintaining this distinction and have demonstrated their ongoing commitment to excellence.” 

As part of this commitment to excellence and along with ISU’s land-grant mission of making education accessible for all, University Museums offers free admission not only to the ISU community, but also to anyone who wishes to visit. All programs, in-person and virtual, are also free and open to the public.

Farm House Museum exterior

The final report from the visiting AAM committee noted the following about ISU’s University Museums:

The [University] Museums have a deep understanding and appreciation of the role they serve with communities, from the University to the wider population of Ames and the region. Despite their small size, they punch above their weight in terms of their programing and their physical presence throughout campus. They are the leading arts organization for the city of Ames and an important resource for education and lifelong learning. Through their public arts programs, they are a leader in their region in supporting and displaying the work of large-format contemporary artists.

...the UM [University Museums] is having a solid and positive effect on education at the university as well as locally and regionally. Its greatest strengths are its accessibility, its strategic planning, its staff and director, its relationship to its governing authority, its excellent if infrequent publications, and genuine concern that the museums offer programming of value in service to both town and gown audiences. It knows the importance of using the collections to advance learning in a broader and less-well served state and regional communities.

Any institution, especially academic ones with multiple museums under institutional governance and the operations of a qualified staff, should look to The University Museums at Iowa State University for standards and practices that advance their mission of service, research and interpretation, and life-long teaching to its communities of service.

This reaccreditation kicks off an eighteen-month celebration of the 50th anniversary of University Museums.

Tours may be scheduled through the University Museums website under the “visit” tab, by emailing, or by calling 515-294-3342.

Logo for fiftieth anniversary. University Museums Iowa State University with number fifty and an at symbol in the five. Nineteen seventy five to twenty twenty five

About American Alliance of Museums (AAM)

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) is the only organization representing the entire museum field, from art and history museums to science centers and zoos. Since 1906, AAM has been championing museums through advocacy and providing museum professionals with the resources, knowledge, inspiration, and connections they need to move the field forward.

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. AAM’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.

logo for American Alliance of Museums

About University Museums

University Museums is a distinctive organization that encompasses two art museums, a National Historic Landmark historic home museum, a sculpture garden, and one of the largest campus public art collections in the nation. University Museums brings world-class exhibitions with educational programming to Iowa State University, actively acquires works of art to add to the more than 30,000 permanent collection objects, conserves and preserves collections, conducts and publishes curatorial scholarship, and fosters student engagement.

Brunnier Art Museum

Regularly changing exhibitions of fine and decorative arts curated from both permanent and visiting collections.

Scheman Building, Second Floor, 1805 Center Drive, Ames, Iowa

Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Closed to the public Mondays, but Iowa State curriculum tours may be scheduled.

Closed university holidays.

Christian Petersen Art Museum

Rotating schedule of exhibitions including contemporary art, public art, and public artists connected to the Art on Campus Collection at Iowa State University.

1017 and 0003 Morrill Hall, 603 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa

Hours: Monday – Friday, 10:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Closed weekends and university holidays

Farm House Museum

National Historic Landmark and first building on campus.

601 Farm House Lane, Ames, Iowa

Hours: Monday – Friday, noon – 4:00 p.m.

Iowa State curriculum tours may be scheduled weekday mornings.

Closed weekends and university holidays


Anderson Sculpture Garden

Outside Morrill Hall, 603 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa

Hours: Open all hours every day.

Tours may be scheduled Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Art on Campus Collection

On the exterior and interior of buildings across the Iowa State University campus, Ames, Iowa

Hours: Indoor works of art are viewable during building hours. Outdoor works of art are viewable all hours every day.

Tours may be scheduled Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Tours may be scheduled through the University Museums website under the “visit” tab, by emailing, or by calling 515-294-3342.

Media Information

To schedule interviews, photograph events, or request high-resolution images, please contact Alisha Abner at 515.294.3342 or

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Header: Photo of the Anderson Sculpture Garden showing Cornhusker and 4-H Calf, both originally sculpted by Christian Petersen and later cast in bronze by Polich Art Works.

Emblem for American Alliance of Museums accredited museums.

A student dancing in the Christian Petersen Art Museum for a program in partnership with a Dance 220 class and Orchesis I in conjunction with the exhibition Tom Stancliffe: Drift.

Students in the Anderson Sculpture Garden drawing the bronze sculpture Bighorn by Gwynn Murrill.

University Museums student intern Robert Katseres in the Brunnier Art Museum cleaning the chandelier Refraction Summary by Andy Paiko.

University Museums student intern Brielle Tuttle photographing paintings in the Art on Campus Collection in Science Hall.

University Museums student worker Riley Nemec watering flowers in the Anderson Sculpture Garden in front of the painted mural Hidden Gems of the Sculpture Garden by Louise “Ouizi” Jones.

Artist April Surgent in the Brunnier Art Museum giving a class tour of her exhibition Future Unfolding.

Photo of the Farm House Museum.

Logo for the University Museums’ 50th anniversary.