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AAMC History

The AAMC, a 501(c)(6) membership organization, grew out of the Forum of Curators and Conservators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a recognized, non-union body of more than 100 members. In response to news of staff reorganizations at several major US museums, members of the Forum created an ad hoc committee to explore the feasibility of a national organization of museum curators in 1999. Over the course of two and a half years, curators at the Metropolitan Museum-including Katharine Baetjer, Stefano Carboni, Colta Ives, Peter Kenny, and Gary Tinterow-drafted the mission statement and by-laws of the proposed organization. In April 2001, they held a meeting in New York, attended by representatives from a dozen American art museums, during which they voted the organization into existence.

At the same time, members of the Forum's ad hoc committee worked closely with prominent members of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), including Philippe de Montebello, Anne d'Harnoncourt, Katharine Lee Reid, and James Wood. Earlier, in autumn 2000, the Presidents Council held a formal discussion with senior curators regarding the establishment of the AAMC, the first time that curators were invited to speak to this committee. In Spring 2001, Mr. de Montebello announced the formation of the AAMC in his keynote address at a colloquium sponsored by the American Federation of Arts, and in July of that year, James Cuno, then president of the AAMD, wrote an official letter of endorsement. In June 2002, more than 300 curators from across the United States attended the first AAMC convention held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In early 2004, the AAMC board of trustees voted to incorporate the AAMC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The AAMC Foundation seeks to heighten public understanding of the curator's role in art museums through professional development programs, awards, and grants.

The AAMC has held an annual meeting in year since 2002, and continues to build membership and programs. As of 2014, the AAMC has a board of 21 trustees from 20 museums who comprise some of the most distinguished figures in the field; 9 committees; more than 1300 members from over 515 institutions, including representation from all 50 states and 5 provinces.  With offices in New York City, generously provided the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, AAMC employes a full time Executive Director and Administrator.
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