Winchester’s Museums keep up the winning streak

For the third consecutive year, Winchester City Council’s museums have retained a coveted quality standard, despite the difficult situation facing local authorities in the current economic climate.

Following a series of secret inspections, the City and Westgate Museums were awarded a renewed qualification under the VisitBritain’s Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS). The museums were secret-shopped in person, on the phone and via email, passing all inspections with flying colours. 

Launched in 2001, VAQAS is a consumer-focused assessment that helps to identify strengths of an attraction and highlight development areas based on good practice within the industry.   

It considers 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. The City and Westgate Museums were first accredited in 2008.

Situated in the Square next to the Cathedral, the City Museum tells the story of Winchester from Roman times to the recent past in three galleries.  The Westgate, the last surviving medieval gateway into the city, sits atop the High Street where its collections tell the story of Tudor and Stuart Winchester.

Michael Nelles, Winchester City Council’s Visitor Services Team Leader for Museums, commented, “We are thrilled to have retained the Award, especially as it proves the recent challenges we’ve faced haven’t dented the customer service standards we’ve always been proud of.”

Patricia Stallard, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Media and Sport, said, “Once again, Winchester’s Museums have risen to the challenge and the results speak for themselves. This is absolutely brilliant news, due in no small measure to a great deal of hard work by especially dedicated staff. I hope everyone who hasn’t yet experienced the Museums for themselves will feel encouraged to take some time to explore them, especially on the heels of this latest award. As a bonus, they’re completely free.”