Dorset Museum celebrates winning four awards at Dorset Tourism Awards, including Gold for Accessible tourism

January 30, 2023

Dorset Tourism Awards 22-23

Staff and volunteers are celebrating after picking up four trophies at the 10th Dorset Tourism Awards held at the Tank Museum in Bovington last week. Presented by broadcaster and journalist Jordan Clarke, 53 winner trophies were presented to tourism businesses and attractions operating across the county.

Dorset Museum was thrilled to have won three prestigious awards including Gold for Accessible and Inclusive TourismSilver for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, and Bronze for Business Events Venue of the Year. Taste at Dorset Museum was awarded Silver for Café/Tearoom of the Year.

Since reopening in May 2021 following a £16.4m National Lottery Heritage Fund-funded redevelopment project, the Museum has delivered an exciting and wide-ranging exhibition, learning and events programme, and grown its venue hire and weddings business. Its current special exhibition ‘I Grew Up 80s’, running until 26 February, has attracted record visitor numbers and amazing feedback from a wide range of age groups.

Increasing access for all to the Museum and its collections lay at the heart of the redevelopment project and continues to shape everything the Museum does. Step-free access was created at the front entrance as well as lift access to all the public Museum spaces. New facilities include a Changing Places toilet and Calm Space, and visitors can pick up resources to support their visits such as braille guides and sensory backpacks. The galleries include tactile objects, braille captions and British Sign Language on film displays.

Head of Learning, Emma Talbot said, “We’re thrilled to have won Gold for the prestigious Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award. During our redevelopment, we worked with disabled members of the local community to ensure that the Museum was accessible as possible. We received wonderful feedback from visitors since opening. Many of them faced barriers to visiting us previously. We continue to offer events to welcome the whole community including relaxed evenings for families, British sign language tours and monthly free openings.”

Taste at Dorset Museum was awarded Silver for Café/Tearoom of the Year. Taste partners with Dorset Museum to provide a popular café experience at the Museum, offering tasty freshly made food and drinks in beautiful surroundings featuring photographs from the Museum’s collection. Taste owner Todd Moffat said, “We are thrilled to be awarded Silver in the Café & Tearoom category at the Dorset Tourism Awards 22/23. Taste Restaurants Ltd are delighted to be working in close partnership with the Dorset Museum and its great team, operating Taste Café, and, providing catering for conferences, banqueting and weddings in such a beautiful and prestigious venue in Dorchester!”

The Museum also scooped a Bronze award for Business Events Venue of the Year.  Income from the venue hire is an important part of the Museum’s sustainable business strategy. This enables the Museum to continue to care for its collection and offer popular exhibition, learning and community engagement programmes.

The Museum’s Commercial Director, Roger Maughan said: “This is a wonderful accolade for Museum staff and volunteers to be recognised as a major venue for conferences events and weddings.”

On winning Silver for Large Visitor Attraction, Interim Director, Elizabeth Selby said: “Dorset Museum now has the facilities, collections and programmes to be a major player on the national stage. We were delighted to win the Silver award for Large Visitor Attraction, but are aiming for gold next time! We’d like to thank all our staff, volunteers and supporters for making the Museum such a fabulous and welcoming place to work and visit.”

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