Fort Nisqually Living History Museum receives highest national recognition

There seems to always be something fun and interesting going on at Fort Nisqually, such as the annual tours of the fort by candlelight, a magical evening walking tour where visitors encounter Hudson’s Bay Company managers and their wives, American settlers, fur trappers, Scottish and French-Canadian laborers, young people at a dance, blacksmiths working at the forge, clerks in the sale shop, and cooks in the kitchen.
Credit: Metro Parks Tacoma

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum has achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums.

Alliance Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

Located in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a restoration of the Hudson’s Bay Company outpost on Puget Sound. Visitors experience life in Washington Territory during the 1850s with the help of interpreters dressed in period clothes. Nine buildings are open to the public, including the Granary and the Factors House, both National Historic Landmarks, and a Visitor Center with Museum Store. The Fort is a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma.

“National accreditation is a testament to the hard work of our staff, volunteers and supporters,” said Aaron Pointer, president of the Metro Parks Board of Commissioners. “The museum strives to operate by the highest standards possible, to preserve the historical artifacts in our collection and present the most engaging programs to our museum audience.”

Developed and sustained by museum professionals for over 45 years, 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 in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

“During the process of accreditation, we reviewed our museum policies and made changes to strengthen our standards,” said Museum Supervisor Jim Lauderdale. “Our goal is for our audience to engage with the museum in a way that creates memories that may last a lifetime. Accreditation will help us achieve this goal.”

Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, only about 1,070 are accredited. Fort Nisqually is one of only 19 museums accredited in Washington State.

Accreditation is a 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, followed by a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. The Alliance’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.

“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura L. Lott, Alliance president and CEO. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit

More information about the museum is available at

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