Part of ANSM’s mandate is "to encourage the development of professional best practices in Nova Scotia's museums". In complement to its commitment to professional best practices, ANSM delivers the Museum Evaluation Program. It addresses seven areas of museum operations – Governance, Management, Facility, Collection & Access to Information, Interpretation, Community, and Marketing & Revenue Generation.
ANSM has established a Museum Evaluation Program Working Group (MEPWG – terms of reference below) of museum professionals who provide guidance on the program’s development and delivery. The MEPWG reviews and selects evaluators using an application process.
Evaluation involves a two-step process which includes a Documentation Review and Site Evaluation. Museums first complete a Documentation Review Form that addresses the seven areas and submit accompanying documentation. The second part of the evaluation is a site evaluation, where a team of three museum professionals visit the museum and assess its operations using the Site Evaluation Form. Museums receive a comprehensive report that includes detailed score breakdowns, comments from the evaluation team, and recommendations for improvements.
A new element of the Museum Evaluation Program is Accreditation. This is the public face of the evaluation process and offers important public recognition of a museum’s public trust, accountability, and community service. Museums that excel in the evaluation process and meet other necessary requirements can apply to be designated an Accredited Museum. The Accreditation Panel, a sub-group of the MEPWG, adjudicates these applications. Accreditation is directly linked to the evaluation cycle, so must be renewed every four years.
ANSM is a partner of the Government of Nova Scotia and Halifax Regional Municipality in the development, delivery and reporting of the Museum Evaluation Program.