Pioneer Museum Receives Highest National Recognition

TAM Blog,

Pioneer Museum Receives Highest National Recognition 
Awarded Accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums  

Fredericksburg, Texas – The Pioneer Museum has achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public.  

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 for 50 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.  


From David Shields, Executive Director 

This achievement marks an important milestone in the history of the Pioneer Museum. For many years former and current Board of Directors of GCHS and every member of staff have worked to meet the demanding standards of the American Alliance of Museums. The countless hours of dedication, and support from our community has enabled us to reach this place where we can deliver the highest level of museum education and public programs.  


I think we should all be proud that Fredericksburg can now rightfully boast two nationally accredited museums, following in the footsteps of the National Museum of the Pacific War.  Our collective efforts have ensured that the Pioneer Museum has been added to this impressive roster of outstanding national museums and adds more brilliance to the stars in the Hill Country constellation. 


Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, over 1081 are currently accredited. Pioneer Museum is one of only 261 museums accredited in Texas. 


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. 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.”  


In the mid-1840s, Germans looking for a better life were reading and hearing about Texas as a land of limitless opportunity. They risked everything to get here. They tenaciously faced every obstacle and created a unique German colony in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. 

The Pioneer Museum grounds is a combination museum and historical site on 3.5 acres on Main Street in downtown Fredericksburg that strives to preserve and tell their story. We showcase hundreds of everyday artifacts in 10 buildings, four of which are in their original spot from early Fredericksburg. Stroll through the buildings at your own leisurely pace. For most people, the tour typically takes about an hour. 

Just two blocks away from the main grounds stands the Vereins Kirche (“Society Church”). The Vereins Kirche is located in the middle of the town square, which we call Marktplatz. This is a replica of the first public building constructed by the pioneers in Fredericksburg. The original, built in 1847 served as a combination church, school, and community center for decades. A replica was built in 1935, the project that launched the Gillespie County Historical Society. 

The Pioneer Museum and the Vereins Kirche are two sites solely dedicated to preserving and telling the heroic story of the pioneers of Fredericksburg. 

About the American Alliance of Museums 

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