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Culloden Visitor Centre's retail shop shortlisted for prestigious international Museums and Heritage Award 2020

By Ian Duncan

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Transforming Retail at Culloden project team members Martin Hughes, left, and Tommy Junor.
Transforming Retail at Culloden project team members Martin Hughes, left, and Tommy Junor.

A souvenir shop at a major Highland tourist attraction has been shortlisted for a top international award.

The National Trust for Scotland’s Culloden Visitor Centre retail shop has been shortlisted in the prestigious international Museums and Heritage Award 2020.

It is up against other major global icons such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Bletchley Park and the team at Culloden are pleased to be in such an impressive and respected shortlist – with the winners due to be announced at the online awards ceremony on Tuesday, September 22, at 7pm.

The Museums and Heritage Award is open to all museum and heritage sites around the world and recognises both the excellent visitor retail experience at Culloden and the development of successful local practises.

Transforming the retail offer at Culloden, the team developed bespoke gifts that reflected the customer journey on site and worked to create and enhance the entire experience by leaving their customers with a memory of the battlefield as they headed home.

Raoul Curtis-Machin, Culloden operations manager, and his team worked with his regional colleagues to create a shopping experience that had something for everyone’s pockets allowing every-one who made a purchase to contribute to the charity's important conservation work and in its aim to preserve Scotland’s most loved places for future generations.

He said: "The team established product categories around clear themes related to Scotland and the Culloden customer experience and invited local Scottish suppliers to engage with customers through product tastings, meet the maker events and promoting family history products.

"Many of the products are unique and can only be found at Culloden. We also developed product and customer welcome training for the team to ensure customers were well looked after.

"Many of the local suppliers only had social media platforms with little if any shop presence across Scotland and working with/supporting these small suppliers on upscaling, marketing, pricing was time consuming but key to the overall success."

One example of a satisfied visitor occured when a customer commented online that she had browsed the Culloden gift shop and bought her first and most cherished souvenir during her ten-day trip – the item was made by a local artist who takes moss clippings or flowers and turns them into jewellery which is presented with a card that says where the moss/flower was picked and when.

The customer wrote: "I will never forget this trip and Culloden will be at the forefront of my mind when I think of Scotland."

Mr Curtis-Machin: "We are thrilled to be shortlisted in this prestigious award. The nomination reflects all the hard work by Team Culloden and our regional colleagues over the last year working with local Scottish suppliers to produce wonderful products that enhance the customer experience at such an emotive and important heritage site."

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