Membership Guidelines

Membership in the San Diego Museum Council is open to any legally organized not-for-profit institution which meets guidelines set by the Council and receives a simple majority vote of the membership.

To request a membership information packet please contact the executive director at the Council.

1. Meet the definition of a "museum" as formulated by the American Alliance of Museums:

The word 'museum' means and shall be deemed to mean a non-profit permanent establishment (not existing primarily for the purpose of conducting temporary exhibitions) exempt from federal and state income taxes, open to the public and administered in the public interest, for the purpose of conserving and preserving, studying, interpreting, enhancing and in particular, organizing and exhibiting to the public for its instruction and enjoyment, objects and specimens of educational value, including artistic, scientific (whether animate or inanimate), historical, and technological materials. Museums thus defined shall include botanical gardens, zoological parks, aquariums, planetariums, historical societies, historical houses, and sites which meet the requirements set forth in the preceding sentence.

Be a legally organized not-for-profit institution or part of a not-for-profit institution or government entity; be essentially educational in nature with an on-going educational program; have a formally stated mission statement; with at least one part-time paid professional staff person who has museum knowledge and experience, and is delegated authority and allocated financial resources sufficient to operate the museum effectively; present regularly scheduled programs and exhibits that use and interpret objects for the public according to accepted standards such as those set by the International Council of Museums (ICOM); have a formal and appropriate program of documentation, care and use of collections and/or tangible objects; have a formal and appropriate program of maintenance and presentation of exhibits;

2. Meet the following operating criteria:

  • Have been open to the public for at least two years;
  • Be substantially open to the public (at least 1,000 hours a year);
  • Have an appropriate annual operating budget (at least $25,000);
  • Have accessioned* 80 percent of the collection;
  • Have a volunteer board of directors/trustees.

*The definition of accession: the creation of an immediate, brief, and permanent record utilizing a control number for an object or group of objects added to the collection from the same source at the same time, and for which the museum has custody, right or title. Customarily, an accession record includes, among other data, the accession number, date and nature of acquisition (gift, excavation, expedition, purchase, bequest, etc.); source; brief identification and description; condition; provenance; value; and name of staff member recording the accession.

3. Pay an annual membership fee:

Based on Annual Operating Budget