For the very first time all four UK nations are represented on the final shortlist, which was whittled down from 80 institutions nominated by hundreds of people between April and June this year.
“We had a great response despite the challenging circumstances, showing how important these places are as the settings of some of our happiest family memories,” notes Emmajane Avery, chair of Kids in Museums.
“We hope our family judges enjoy their visits over the summer holidays and we look forward to hearing their verdicts.”
Another first sees the introduction of a Best Accessible Museum category in this year’s line-up, offering recognition for museums making “excellent efforts to include families with children or young people who have special educational needs and disabilities”.
Kids in Museums will also offer shortlisted museums feedback on how they can further improve their offer for these families.
This year’s shortlist
The shortlist for the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2021 is:
Best Large Museum
- Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle
- Horniman Museum and Gardens, London
- World Museum, Liverpool
Best Medium Museum
- London Transport Museum
- The Box, Plymouth
- Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum
- University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge
Best Small Museum
- Abbey House Museum, Leeds
- Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick
- Dorset Museum
- Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast
- Wisbech and Fenland Museum
Best Accessible Museum
- Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
- Postal Museum, London
- The Egypt Centre, Swansea
Best Digital Activity
- Ballymoney Museum – From me to you: a journey of a postcard
- Perth Museum and Art Gallery – CPK Play Site
- National Museum Wales | Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Sleepover: At Home Series | Amgueddfa Dros Nos: Cyfres Gartref
- Whitworth Art Gallery – Play Live
- National Maritime Museum – Young Volunteers Project (October 2020), Across the Seas
Judging will begin in earnest when schools break up for the summer holidays, with undercover family judges visiting each shortlisted museum to rate them on how well they meet the Kids in Museums Manifesto.
In line with the past year’s emphasis on digital, and following on from 2020’s one-off Family Friendly Museum Award From Home, families will also test out online activities from home.
The 2021 winners will discover their fates at an awards ceremony in October, recognising achievements both online and offline since the last Family Friendly Museum Award winner was announced in October 2019.