February 15, 2013
LISLE, IL (February 15, 2013) – The Morton Arboretum has received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum. Accreditation signifies excellence to the public as well as the Arboretum’s funding audience, professional community and government and other agencies.
The Arboretum is an outdoor museum of trees established in 1922 and located on 1,700 acres in Lisle, Illinois – 25 miles west of Chicago. The work of the Arboretum is to maintain collections, provide educational offerings and conduct scientific research in support of its mission to save and plant trees for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world. Collections encompass trees and other plants, a botanical library and a herbarium of dried specimens.
Of the nation’s 17,500 museums, 779 are accredited, and only 3% of those are public gardens. Within the public garden realm, The Morton Arboretum is one of only five arboreta to hold accreditation. 
“Accreditation assures the people of Lisle and the greater Chicago area that The Morton Arboretum is among the finest museums in the nation,” said Ford W. Bell, president of AAM. “As a result, citizens can take considerable pride in the institution for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community.”
The achievement of accreditation comes as the Arboretum marks its 90th anniversary. According to Dr. Gerard T. Donnelly, President and CEO, “Our founder, Mr. Joy Morton, envisioned the Arboretum as ‘a great outdoor museum of trees,’ and throughout time we have aspired to and upheld that intent through world-class plant collections, model education programs and scientific initiatives.” 
While the Arboretum carries out its legacy and evolves to ensure relevance in today’s world, it also strives to make a difference for the future, Donnelly explained. “Through our leadership roles regionally, nationally, and internationally, we aim to lead tree science, planting and conservation initiatives and collaborations, with a vision to be the world’s leading center of tree expertise.”
Additionally, The Morton Arboretum is accredited as an arboretum through ArbNet, a professional resource for tree-focused public gardens. In that capacity, the Arboretum is accredited at the highest level, denoting commitment to the fullest scope of capabilities to advance goals specific to its profession.
About AAM Accreditation
Accreditation is the museum field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability related to governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. The accreditation program strengthens the museum field by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely and provide the best possible service to the public.
Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation, a museum must conduct an extensive self-study and undergo a detailed site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, reviews and evaluates materials and reports to determine whether a museum has earned accreditation. 
About The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum on 1,700 acres. Plant collections, scientific research and education programs support the mission to plant and conserve trees and other plants for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world. Throughout natural landscapes are specialty gardens, 16 miles of trails and nine miles of roads. Other offerings include tree-focused events, activities and services for adults, children, professionals and communities. The Arboretum welcomes more than 800,000 visitors annually and serves 34,000 member households. Located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open daily 7 a.m. until sunset. Learn more at