The National Emergency Services Museum (NESM) has today been named the UK’s best Overall Winner at an awards ceremony recognising family–friendly attractions.
Run by charity Kids in Museums, the annual award is given to one museum, gallery, historic home or heritage site in the UK that “goes the extra mile to provide a great experience for families.”
The charity said families had praised NESM for the way “it makes history come alive” and the meaningful way it connects with and supports its local communities.
The Sheffield-based independent museum explores the history of the emergency services, and coincidentally receives the award on ‘999 Day’, a government-backed national event celebrating the work of the NHS and emergency services.
Family Friendly Museum Awards judges, who are anonymous, praised the museum’s level of engagement.
One judge said: “There was something for all our kids to experience. From dressing up to solving an investigation to ringing their fire bell.There was lots to be interactive with.”
Another judge added: “I was quite shocked at how much was free to touch and get hands on with.There were lots of opportunities for kids to interact so that adults could explore the exhibits in their way too, and read any information they wanted to.There is so much space and things to do – we got to be very silly!”
NESM was one of five sites recognised at the annual Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2022.
The full list of winners is:
Best Small Museum + Overall Winner
- National Emergency Services Museum, Sheffield
Best Medium Museum
- Museum of Making, Derby
Best Large Museum
- National Maritime Museum, London
Best Accessible Museum
- Experience Barnsley
Best Family Engagement Team
- PK Porthcurno, Penzance in Cornwall
Philip Mould, President of Kids in Museums, said: “What’s so important is that this museum tells the story of our emergency services and shares lifesaving lessons in a surprising, engaging and joyful way.This dedicated team has created a place where families can learn together through play, truly bringing history to life. We’re so proud we can highlight this and the excellent work staff and volunteers are doing in Sheffield and right across the UK. Huge congratulations to all of this year’s superb winners.”