The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), based in Arlington, VA, has announced the appointment of San Bernardino County Museum Director Melissa Russo as a new Accreditation Commissioner. Ms. Russo will fill one of two vacant seats on the nine-member board, serving a term of five years.

AAM accreditation is the museum industry’s mark of distinction and offers peer-based validation of a museum’s operations and impact. The Accreditation Commission is the body responsible for making independent decisions regarding the accredited status of the nation’s museums. The Commission meets three times per year and is made up of museum professionals serving in a volunteer capacity that collectively bring a wide range of experience and expertise in the museum field.

“Melissa’s appointment is a very proud moment for San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “This is a testament to the great work Melissa has done as the County Museum Director, and to our county’s commitment to innovation and excellence.”

The San Bernardino County Museum has held accredited status since 1974 and received 10-year re-accreditation under Ms. Russo’s tenure as the County’s Museum Director, a position she has held since 2015. As an Accreditation Commissioner, she brings over two decades of experience successfully managing both government and private nonprofit museums, along with diverse nonprofit board leadership and experience. Over the course of her career, Russo has been highly active in the museum field at-large. She is a prolific speaker at local, regional, and national conferences, and has authored articles for museum publications on a wide range of practical topics and contemporary issues. She has served as an AAM Accreditation Peer Reviewer and an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant reviewer, and has served on AAM’s National Program Committee.

Accreditation Commissioners self-nominate and are appointed by the AAM Board Chair based on recommendations from a nominating committee comprised of representatives from the Board, Accreditation Commission, and selected discipline-specific museums associations. This year, over 30 nominees competed for two open seats, with Russo and Marise McDermott, President and CEO of the Witte Museum in San Antonio, selected.

“Based on their experience and high praise from their peers, I know that Marise and Melissa will serve AAM with dedication and enthusiasm, and the perspectives they bring will add value to the Commission’s work” said Kippen de Alba Chu, AAM’s Board Chair. “I am grateful for their commitment and volunteer time devoted to these vital positions.”

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. Parking is free. For more information, visit The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.