Museum receives a national award

PUBLISHED: 17:16 04 April 2007 | UPDATED: 10:17 31 May 2010

From left, curator Carolyn Wingfield, Sir Alan Haselhurst, Museum Society vice-chairman and Cllr David Morson – Pic: Dick Harding

From left, curator Carolyn Wingfield, Sir Alan Haselhurst, Museum Society vice-chairman and Cllr David Morson - Pic: Dick Harding

VISITORS to Saffron Walden Museum are now viewing artefacts at one of the country s finest after it received a prestigious national award on Monday. The museum has achieved Full Accreditation from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), which

VISITORS to Saffron Walden Museum are now viewing artefacts at one of the country's finest after it received a prestigious national award on Monday.

The museum has achieved Full Accreditation from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

(MLA), which is the gold standard for institutions across the country.

Visitor services officer Maureen Evans said: "We're delighted to receive Full Accreditation because it shows we're doing it right and taking care of the collections which form the town's heritage now and in the future.

"It feels a bit like getting an Outstanding Bravery Award, as it's a national scheme and we're one of the first to reach the high new standards, which have been put in place.

"I believe we've been given the accreditation because of how we display our collections, take care of them and show them off to visitors."

The MLA's Accreditation scheme replaces the scheme previously known as Registration and sets nationally agreed standards for UK museums.

To meet the requirements of the scheme, museums must demonstrate that they achieve clearly defined standards relating to governance and management, user services, visitor facilities and collections management.

Ms Evans added: "The accreditation is effectively the gold standard for museums, and we hope to improve the service we provide with the development of the Heritage Quest Centre.

"We also hope to be making more and more things available to view online in the future as part of our long-term strategy."

A spokesman for the MLA, the assessing organisation for all government-funded national museums, said: "Accreditation recognises the importance of collections and effective collections management as the foundation for everything that museums strive to do.

"Without adequate collections care and documentation, the potential of museums to extend access to new audiences, encourage learning and inspire people's creativity would, eventually, be lost."

The museum is operated by Uttlesford District Council under a management agreement with the Saffron Walden Museum Society, which founded the museum in 1835 and owns the building and collections.

Constituency MP Sir Alan Haselhurst presented the certificate to Cllr David Morson and the society's Edwin Planterose.

Curator Carolyn Wingfield said: "This mark of excellence will help towards the Heritage Quest Centre, our new research and resource centre on Thaxted Road. If we meet our targets and make a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, we hope it will be operational by 2008."

Sir Alan congratulated everyone involved in making the museum so successful.

"It's a pleasure to know the museum has achieved this standard and it's a matter of congratulation for everyone involved from the top to the bottom," he said.

"The museum is a source of a lot of satisfaction to the people of Saffron Walden.

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