A small, volunteer-operated museum on a side street in Whitby has been recognised as one of the top attractions in the country.
The Captain Cook Memorial Museum on Grape Lane won gold in VisitEnglands Awards for Excellency Competition at Monday’s national awards ceremony in Manchester.
Museum spokesman Charles Forgan said: “When you look at our leaflet at the moment it says ‘one of Yorkshire’s best’. I think it’s perfectly reasonable now to say ‘one of Britain’s best’.”
The award represents the culmination of 25 years’ work by members of the Whitby community, most of whom are volunteers and give their time freely.
Mr Forgan added: “It’s jolly good news and it’s a feather in the cap for all the people who have ever worked in the museum. It’s not just one or two people, it’s a whole team effort.”
The museum was founded 25 years ago and receives around 20,000 visitors each year. It is an independent museum, operated by the Cook Museum Trust charity.
In this year’s awards application, the museum trust was able to quote a summary from a recent report, which read: “This small, well-managed museum never fails to exceed expectation. Quality presentation and interpretation complements the knowledgeable guides.”
In this year’s VisitEngland small attractions category were 22 entrants, many of them winners of local and regional awards
The museum had previously been a winner in Yorkshire’s White Rose Awards in 2005 and last year in 2012, but this is the first time it has been recognised on a national scale.
At the awards ceremony, held on Tuesday, Yorkshire scooped eight tourism awards, more than any other county in England. Finalists from yorkshire had been selected for the VisitEngland Excellence Awards after winning their categories in the White Rose Awards 2012 and Colin Mellors, chair of judges for that competition, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the wins in Yorkshire, which show the high calibre of tourism businesses in the county. To have more winners than any other county in England is a major achievement. It’s a proud day for Yorkshire.”
Entries for this year’s White Rose Awards close at the end of May. To have a chance of winning and making next year’s VisitEngland Excellence Awards, enter at www.whiteroseawards.com/2013