MANHATTAN — The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University is being recognized for continued excellence.
The American Alliance of Museums, the premiere museum professional organization in the country, has reaccredited the university’s art museum following a review process that included an extensive self-study by museum staff and a site visit by an accreditation team.
“Reaccreditation means the Beach Museum of Art continues to meet national standards and best practices for the nation’s museums,” said Burt Logan, chair of the American Alliance of Museum’s Accreditation Commission and director and CEO of the Ohio History Connection, in a congratulatory letter to Linda Duke, Beach Museum of Art director.
“It also shows the Beach Museum of Art remains a member of a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” Logan said.
“I’d like to thank university administration and most especially, our hard-working and talented museum staff, Friends and Advisory Council members, and Board of Visitors for helping the museum retain this important status,” Duke said.
Logan also noted in his letter that through a rigorous process of self-assessment and review by its peers, the Beach Museum of Art has shown itself to be a good steward of its resources held in public trust and is committed to a philosophy of continual institutional growth.
“The Beach exemplifies the role of museum as connector, sharing its knowledge with its university community and using technology to fulfill its obligation to serve Kansas audiences,” Logan said. “We also note that the education staff’s calculated experimentation and proactive approach to program development steeped in current cutting-edge research is exemplary.”
While the Beach Museum of Art’s reaccreditation is assured, Duke said the site visit report did list one important concern: the need to ensure additional funding for the museum. Current levels of donations and endowment income have limited the museum’s budget and necessitated reduced operating hours.
But Duke said the site report also praised campus leadership for the value it places on the Beach Museum of Art and its mission to further the teaching, research and service functions of the university through its programming and educational outreach efforts. One such example is the introduction of Visual Thinking Strategies to the campus and community. This educational methodology is based on looking at works of art to help develop cognitive, communication, observation and social skills.
From the site review report, reviewers wrote: “In many ways, K-State President Richard Myers encapsulated the power of the museum’s educational outreach with his observation that the museum plays a key role in helping students and other audience members to think about the nature of communication through close, directed attention to works of art but, even more powerfully, to think about the very question of what one might want to communicate. Reflecting on the museum’s sensitivity to matters of diversity, community and inclusion, President Myers noted that the museum helps its audience to consider how we see ourselves and who we want to be.”
Site review report authors included Mark Chepp, executive director of the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center, Portsmouth, Ohio, and Anne Collins Goodyear, co-director, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine.
The Beach Museum of Art serves as home to the university’s art collection, which now includes more than 10,000 objects. Its exhibitions and programs connect regional art, culture, and interests with the larger world.
The museum’s next self-study for reaccreditation will be due Nov. 1, 2026.