Biggar’s new museum scoops two top awards

VisitScotland Regional Director Annique Armstrong presenting museum manager Jennifer Court with the award, cheered on by museum curator Suzanne Rigg and Trustees Michael Hunter, Ann Matheson and Eric Carlyle.
VisitScotland Regional Director Annique Armstrong presenting museum manager Jennifer Court with the award, cheered on by museum curator Suzanne Rigg and Trustees Michael Hunter, Ann Matheson and Eric Carlyle.

Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum has been rated a 5-Star Museum by national tourist body VisitScotland in recognition of the excellence of the visitor experience it offers.

It has also been named joint winner of the Enterprising Museum Award at The Arts and Business Awards Scotland.

The museum was officially opened by the Princess Royal in October.

Jennifer Court, Museum Manager of Biggar & Upper Clydesdale Museum, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded VisitScotland’s top standards rating in recognition of the quality of the visitor experience we’re providing.

“This is an accolade which we had set our sights on winning and it’s a real testimony to the commitment and hard work of The Biggar Museum Trust and all of the team here.”

The VisitScotland award was made after one of its quality advisers paid an incognito visit to the museum, and found its exhibits, information and friendliness “exceptional”.

During the visit, the advisor evaluated areas ranging from the information provided on the exhibits, the presentation and cleanliness of the museum interior and exterior, the merchandise sold in its shop, the hospitality and friendliness of staff and the standard of signage and car parking.

And that resulted in the museum being graded in the ‘exceptional’ category.

The assessment summary praised it as ‘a super new museum, which has been finished to a very high standard with engaging interpretation and artefacts within, situated in the heart of Biggar’.

Jennifer added: “We’re especially delighted to have managed to win this award so soon after our official opening by Princess Anne.

“Our 5-Star grading will help us raise our profile as a first-class attraction and encourage more visitors to come to Biggar and our museum.”

Run by the Biggar Museum Trust, which collects and preserves examples of the rich heritage of the area, Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum brings together a collection built up over more than 40 years.

The new, purpose-built museum on the site of a former garage on the main street replaces both the Gladstone Court Museum and Moat Park.

The collection – ranging from archaeological artefacts to objects related to social history – explores 14,000 years of rural and small town life in Upper Clydesdale.

With its focus on the people who have lived and worked in the area from prehistoric times up to the mid-20th century, the exhibits illustrate aspects of their ordinary and extraordinary lives.

The museum also houses an archive room, a temporary exhibition area and a shop.

Annique Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “My congratulations go to everyone at Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum on this fantastic and very well-deserved award.

“This is a great new attraction.

“The 5 Star grading is excellent news, not only for the museum and for the town of Biggar but also for Lanarkshire.”

The Museum then notched up another prestitious achievement. At The Arts and Business Awards Scotland on February 3, it was named the joint winner of the Enterprising Museum Award, sponsored by Museums Galleries Scotland.

That award, shared with the Scottish Maritime Museum, is for a museum which has shown outstanding commercial innovation.