National Recognition for City Museum

Winchester’s City Museum has this week been awarded a quality accreditation marque under a UK-wide scheme designed to promote high standards for Britain’s tourism industry.

The Visitor Attractions Quality Accreditation Scheme (VAQAS) was launched nationally in 2001. It is a consumer focused assessment service for all types of visitor attractions which helps to identify the strengths of an attraction and highlight development areas based on good practice within the industry. A wide range of attractions of all sizes, both large and small, throughout England have benefited from participation in the service. In the Winchester District, the City Museum is only the third attraction to be assessed under the scheme after Marwell Zoological Park and INTECH Science Centre and Planetarium.

The City Council’s museum services team made a detailed submission to assessors which was followed up by a rigorous process of mystery shopping, telephone calls and staff interviews. The assessment considered every aspect of a visit, from the availability of pre-visit information on the web and in print, to the ease of finding the museum on arrival in the city as well as the on-site experience.

Sher Kent, the Council’s museum services manager, commented on the award:

"This is affirmation of the excellent service we aim to provide each day at the museum, and I am proud of the staff who have worked hard to achieve the VAQAS award. It really is wonderful to be able to display the coveted red, blue and white logo of VisitBritain in the museum".

The City Museum which is situated in the centre of Winchester between the High Street and the cathedral, and tells the story of the history of the city through display of its extensive archaeological and local history collections.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, portfolio holder for heritage, culture and sport, said,

"The City Council has set itself a corporate priority of providing customer service we’re proud of, and this award is evidence of our ability to do this. I hope that the quality marque will encourage new visitors – particularly local residents who haven’t found time to pop in before – to come and explore the museum and learn a little more about Winchester’s history. Not only can they be sure of a positive experience, but at a time when everyone is watching what they spend the museum offers the bonus of being completely free."