For Immediate Release

Media Contacts: Melanie Mathos / Hannah Nuccio
Lou Hammond & Associates /
(843) 371-1363 / (843) 410-5306


Zinnia Willits of the Gibbes Museum of Art Selected as Peer Reviewer for the American Association of Museums

(June 27, 2011 - Charleston, South Carolina) – Zinnia Willits, Director of Collections Administration for the Gibbes Museum of Art, has been selected to serve as a Museum Assessment Program peer reviewer for the American Association of Museums (AAM). Selection for this program is extended only to qualified museum professionals who have significant museum experience and a proven understanding of the museum field. Applicants to the Peer Review Program are expected to demonstrate a record of active participation in the field-wide dialogue of museum operations, standards, best practices, and emerging issues.

Willits has served on the curatorial staff of the Gibbes Museum of Art—a museum accredited with the American Association of Museums—for seven years. Prior to joining the Gibbes, she worked at the College of Charleston Jewish Heritage Collection, the Augusta Museum of History, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. Willits is extremely active in the museum profession and speaks at conferences throughout the country. She is a member of the Registrars Committee of the American Association of Museums, has chaired sessions for the annual Southeastern Museums Conference, and serves as Professional Development Committee Chair of South Carolina Federation of Museums.

Willits will be volunteering her time to support AAM’s Accreditation and Museum Assessment Programs. These two programs allow AAM to ensure that museums around the nation are performing up to current standards and best practices, and provide support and resources for museums that are looking to improve.

“Peer reviewers play an integral role in the museum field’s on-going efforts toward self-improvement,” said Ford W. Bell, president of AAM. “Peer reviewers demonstrate a commitment to their profession that is exemplary. Their selfless service enables museums across the country to better meet their obligations to the public trust.”

The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905 in historic Charleston, S.C. The Gibbes houses one of the foremost collections of American Art from the 18th century to the present. The Gibbes is currently undergoing major renovations and will reopen in the spring of 2016. The renovated museum will properly showcase its extensive collections and will feature an admission-free ground floor, providing a place to watch artists at work in studios and stroll through a world-class garden.

135 Meeting Street | Charleston, SC | 29401