On March 4, 2022, UC Riverside received the American Alliance of Museums accreditation for the UCR Arts museum. The museum, located in downtown Riverside, houses the California Museum of Photography and the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts. With this recognition, UCR Arts has become one of 77 museums accredited in California.

The AAM is a non-profit organization that has recognized all types of museums since 1906. The organization’s mission “is to champion equitable and impactful museums by connecting people, fostering learning and community and nurturing museum excellence.” Museums that receive their accreditation both represent and educate their communities.

“I’m excited and honored. This is a validation of the caliber of our work, and it speaks to the commitment we have to the community — to making UCR Arts accessible to the public,” said Sheila Bergman, the UCR Arts executive director. “I am grateful to every single staff member because this was a process that involved everyone on the team.”

UCR Arts began preparing to apply for accreditation several years in advance. This process included taking inventory of the collections and transferring records from paper to digital. This process was lengthy as the California Museum of Photography has about 500,000 objects in its collection which range from photographic prints, negatives, archives, books and technology. To receive accreditation, museums must conduct a year of self study then pass a site visit by members of AAM.

“Over the years, UCR Arts has exhibited many thought-provoking installations,” Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox said. “Through the AAM accreditation process, UCR Arts has also exhibited a commitment to scholarly excellence and education for Riverside and the Inland Empire.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, UCR Arts shifted how the community experienced their museum by creating virtual tours accessible online. These tours helped connect the community by still allowing them access to the educational and artistic benefits of the museum.

“I am proud that the American Alliance of Museums has recognized the quality of the role UCR Arts plays in our community,” Provost Elizabeth Watkins said. “Their accreditation will help keep UCR Arts collections accessible and continue to serve the people of Riverside.”

Entry into the museum is free although some activities may have a fee. Visitors are expected to register at the museum’s website prior to their visit. UCR Arts is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on most days and opens at noon on Thursday and Friday.