The Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham was presented with a Bronze Award at the finals of the 2018-19 Beautiful South Awards for Excellence which took place at the Grand Hotel, Brighton yesterday evening. Kent’s largest military museum was successful in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year Category of the awards which are organised by Tourism South East.
The Awards recognise achievement in the tourism industry over the last 18 months during which time the Museum carried out a major refurbishment to its café, refitted the small gift shop and introduced new ranges featuring local suppliers to both outlets. Other initiatives to enhance the visitor experience include the introduction of a children’s activity trail, improved interactives and a busy programme of temporary exhibitions, including the poignant VC: For Valour marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Nigel Smith, Chief Executive of Tourism South East, said, “Achieving excellence isn’t easy – it takes vision, years of commitment and a lot of hard work from talented people. All of the finalists have got these qualities in abundance. They can be proud of what they have achieved and the example they are setting for others. I was blown away last night by the sheer quality of tourism businesses we have got in the South East and how their numbers are increasing every year.”
Museum Director, Rebecca Nash commented “We are thrilled to receive this award; we have had a very busy and successful year and we are planning further improvements in the coming years, so this really is the icing on the cake for us.”
Commenting on the nomination, Operations & Commercial Manager, Graham Hukins said, “It’s great that the hard work and dedication of the whole team has been recognised and it was wonderful to be amongst the best tourism businesses in the south east for the celebrations.”
The award comes just ahead of the Museum’s final special event of the year, Wartime Christmas, which will give visitors an insight into yuletide celebrations 1940s-style, and which takes place on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 December. There is also still a chance to see the major exhibition VC: For Valour – Sapper Victoria Crosses of the First World War which continues until 21 December. The exhibition focusses on the physical heritage of the First World War through the collection of ten Victoria Crosses received by Royal Engineers, all of which are held by the Museum. Full details of both can be found at www.re-museum.co.uk.
The Museum tells the story of the Royal Engineers and how they have helped the British Army live, move and fight for over 300 years. It is Kent’s largest military museum with highlights including 25 Victoria Crosses, Wellington’s map of Waterloo, Zulu War weapons, amazing bridge-laying tanks, a huge section of the Berlin Wall, a Harrier Jump Jet and an enormous V2 Rocket. With interactive exhibits, indoor and outdoor play areas, café and gift shop, there’s plenty for all the family!
The Museum is open from 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm) Tuesdays to Sundays until 21 December – full details can be found at www.re-museum.co.uk.