A national tourism assessor has given Melton Carnegie Museum an even higher rating than on their previous visit two years ago.
Visit England made a ‘mystery shopper’ visit to the Thorpe End resource and gave it an impressive score of 82 per cent, three marks above the 2017 ranking.
The assessor looked at the whole range of what is on offer to visitors, including how easy it is to find out information about the museum ahead of a visit, travelling to the museum and how easy it is to locate.
Inside, all aspects of the visitor experience at the museum, which is run and managed by Leicestershire County Council, were assessed including layout, friendliness, helpfulness and knowledge of staff, information and signage, presentation of displays, cleanliness, retail, toilet provision and all-round customer service.
The assessments which are carried out under Visit England’s Attraction Quality Scheme take place every two years.
Praise was given for the new website, how clean the museum is, the quality of the Palitoy exhibition and the new map and ‘top 10 things not to miss’, which the assessor said was helpful in navigating the museum and providing extra facts about Melton;
The report states: “Whilst only a small museum, it covers a wealth of information on the town’s history, coupled with a fascinating temporary exhibition providing an enjoyable experience for visitors.
“The striking building, a former Carnegie Library, built in 1905, provides a highly memorable first impression.
“There is excellent management and presentation of the arrival areas and the hanging baskets and flowerbed areas were colourful and inviting.
“The quality of interpretation is commendable and aimed at a wide audience with sensory experiences enlivening the interpretation to enhance the overall experience.”
Melton Carnegie Museum has seen a 13 per cent increase in visitor numbers in the last year, which the assessment judges as being primarily down to improvements in marketing, updated displays, extra activities and new projects.
The council’s market town museums manager, Zara Matthews, said: “We’ve worked very hard to implement the recommendations from the last assessment and it is good to know that is acknowledged by the assessor and reflected in the improved score.
“There were some recommendations made about how we can improve even further, and we will be putting together an action plan to ensure these improvements are carried out, so that we can offer an even better experience to our visitors.”
Councillor Richard Blunt, the county council’s cabinet member for heritage, leisure and arts, said: “Melton has a rich and diverse history and the Carnegie Museum has wonderful displays showcasing this history from the Bronze Age to the 21st century.
“We are delighted that Visit England has recognised this with an even higher score than it previously received.”
The museum has recently been able to display more than 50 archaeological artefacts never previously on view to the public, following a painstaking cleaning and conservation process.
These include the stunning Anglo-Saxon Scalford pommel cap, which is very rare and resembles similar items from the famous Staffordshire Hoard.
Other highlights of the museum include paintings by renowned 19th century artist John Ferneley Snr and reconstructions of a Stilton cheese diary and a Victorian pharmacy.
Entry to Melton Carnegie Museum is free, but donations are welcome to support its work.