BEXHILL Museum has been awarded full accreditation by the Arts Council after being judged by the same standards as the V&A.
Months of work for Bexhill Museum curator Julian Porter backed by the efforts of the establishment’s volunteers have been rewarded.
No museum can operate without accreditation - official approval demonstrating that the museum is run to national standards.
Bexhill Museum is an independent, voluntarily-run museum which next year celebrates its centenary. It operates from premises owned by Rother District Council. Julian Porter and administrator Don Phillips are the only paid members of staff.
The standards required for accreditation cover everything from the way objects entrusted in the museum’s care are displayed and stored to the health and safety of staff, volunteers and visiting public.
The accreditation process involves the submission of comprehensive paperwork including the museum’s agreed policies and objectives plus an exhaustive inspection.
Arts Council accreditation officer Carol Warner spent a full day checking the Egerton Road museum on Friday, February 22. She attended a meeting of the museum’s board of directors in the afternoon to quiz the board and to answer their questions.
Julian Porter said: ?Accreditation is on a four-year cycle. This is the first inspection since the re-build here. It is now a very different facility from the last one we did for the old museum.?
The curator was able to show the accreditation officer the new costume and social history gallery and new motor heritage gallery, education room, café, lift and toilets, opened in 2009.
The museum was given provisional accreditation for the period covering the re-build and has now re-gained its previous full accreditation.
He said: ?I really want to thank all the volunteers for the help they have given because we are now judged against the same standards as the Victoria and Albert or the National History Museum and other nationals.
?They look at everything from customer care and how friendly the front desk are to our management policies and documentation.
?It is the most important process that we go through as a museum. Accreditation is the thing that proves we are a museum, not just a local organisation pretending it’s a museum. It singles us out from other attractions.?
Museum chairman John Betts said: ?This award of full accreditation reflects highly on the skills and dedication of the museum’s staff and volunteers.
?To name just one person from so many would appear unfair but I feel that I must mention Rother District Council curator Julian Porter who has worked so very hard during the past months to enable us to achieve this award.
?He will know what I mean when I say ?Thank goodness you knew where the bear’s skull was stored!’?
Julian Porter explained: ?What they do in addition to inspecting all your documentation is ask to see individual items at random. She asked to see our bear’s skull and I was able to show her it on display in the Sargent Gallery.?