CAP, MAP, and StEPs are all assessment programs designed to help improve the professional work of small museums in the United States. Each program has a different goal, process, and outcome. CAP is the most specific, in that it focuses specifically on collections care and conservation. Of the three assessment types, it is also the most dependent upon outside consultants (in contrast to the internal self-assessment structures of MAP and StEPs).
MAP (Museum Assessment Program) is administered by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) to help museums strengthen operations, plan for the future, and meet professional standards. MAP participants undergo a one-year self-assessment followed by a peer review in one of three categories: organizational, collections stewardship, or community engagement assessments.
StEPs (Standards and Excellence Program for History Museums), administered by the American Association for State and Local History, is a self-paced self-study program that allows museums to assess their policies and practices and benchmark themselves against national museum standards.
To learn more about MAP and StEPs, please visit their respective webpages.