With 14 categories, the awards generate very public recognition for the winners and shortlistees and have been instrumental in helping many to secure funding and support from key stakeholders. Award winners have also enjoyed recognition both locally and further afield as the awards increasingly gain an international profile.

In the video below Diane Lees says it is the breadth of the awards that make them so important to the sector in reconginsing not just the big projects from the national museums but also smaller projects from regional museums.

A step-by-step guide to entering the awards

Q&A with Tower Bridge - winner of the Best Shop Over £500k award 2018

The Best Shop Award, which is split into two categories for shops with a turnover of under £500k and for those with a turnover of more than £500k, was new to 2018. The award aims to celebrate best practice in museum and heritage retailing and looks not only at profit but the entire retail operation over the past year and aims to honour the leaders in the sector.

In the inaugural year Tower Bridge’s ‘Gift Shop Redesign’ won Best Shop Over £500k. Here is what David Laird, Education and Marketing at Tower Bridge had to say about the project and award experience:

Why did Tower Bridge enter the Museums + Heritage Awards?

We wanted to raise the profile of Bridge within the industry and acknowledge the work of the project team.

What makes Tower Bridge’s shop unique and successful?

The retail offer reflects the unique heritage and function of the bridge.

How has the shop improved revenue generation at the heritage attraction?

The revenue has increased 75% since opening the new shop.

Where does your award sit – is it on view to the public?

Yes, it’s on public view and sits in the office reception.

What initiatives in the shop have you spearheaded since the awards or plan to in the future and how will these be influenced by the positive feedback?

We have been developing a comprehensive history book of the Bridge as well as new product ranges reflecting the engineering and architecture of the Bridge.

What advice would you give to museums and heritage visitor attractions planning to enter the 2019 Museums + Heritage Awards?

Put yourself in the customer’s position as if seeing your project for the first time in order to get a true feeling of its properties, that’s away from the familiar.

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