Jesuit Dallas Boasts an Art Museum Like No Other

Institution earns rare national accreditation from the AAM

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art, and Jesuit Dallas Museum (JDM) – as The Muppets sing it on Sesame Street,  “One of these things is not like the others.”

But don’t make the mistake of thinking, “one of these things just doesn’t belong.”

The museum at the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas has earned its place among the best museums in the nation, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) announced in August.

JDM completed a rigorous self-assessment and review process, earning the highest national recognition standard possible for a museum. It is the only accredited fine art museum in the country housed within a high school.

“The unique partnership between the Jesuit Dallas Museum and the school is leading the country in best practices and reinforcing the importance of an appreciation of art in our young people,” said Fred Jackson, president of the JDM Board of Trustees.

Only about 1,000 of the 34,000 museums in the United States achieve this accreditation.

“Our accreditation signifies excellence, accountability, and high professional standards,” JDM director Elizabeth Hunt Blanc said.

The nonprofit JDM, incorporated in 1986 and governed by a charter and board of directors separate from the school, exists primarily to benefit Jesuit students and the wider school community. Its world-class collection – more than 700 works spanning 2,000 years – is displayed in halls, classrooms, and courtyards throughout the 34-acre campus, introducing students to celebrated painters, sculptors, and photographers.

“Time and again, the site visitors were struck by the depth of connection that the school, students, faculty, administration, and board of trustees had with the collection and the educational philosophy of integration of content with curriculum,” the Accreditation Visiting Committee said in its final report. “The way the staff and board make the collection relevant and accessible should be a model for other institutions that exist in nontraditional art museum environments.”

AAM Accreditation Commission chair Evans Richardson called JDM an “exemplary institution.”

“Most impressive is the museum’s connection to the teaching mission of the school and the passion of everyone involved,” Richardson said. “It would be very easy to try and place this museum into existing paradigms of what an art museum ‘should’ be. But what we found was a unique institution that reminds us to put the concept of connection between art and audience at the core of what we do.”

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William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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