Kids in Museum said the 11 museums from Perth and Kinross to Torquay and Gwynedd set themselves apart with their commitment to putting families’ voices at the heart of their organisations and using family feedback to plan everything from their toilets and cafés to their exhibition programmes.
They say that many of the shortlisted museums have seen recent increases in their visitor numbers, with family visitors driving this trend. Knowing that a museum is family friendly has a big impact on decision-making for families planning days out and can take the stress out of the experience
“We were really impressed with the high quality of this year’s nominations for the Family Friendly Museum Award and the brilliant family friendly work that is going on in museums all over the country,” said Emmajane Avery, Chair of Kids in Museums. “It’s fantastic that so many museums are using our Manifesto to shape their work with families, children and young people and listening and responding to their feedback.”
In response to family feedback, Kids in Museums’ shortlisted museums have created new children’s galleries, built quiet space into their museums with chill out zones and a family snug, curated an exhibition based on toddlers’ choices of art, developed new family activities such as audio Easter Egg hunts and Messy Museum sessions and reached out into their local communities visiting prisons, schools and Sure Start Centres and running a shuttle bus to get people to their site.
Read Advisor's Q&A with last year's Kids in Museums' Family Friendly Museum winner
Last year’s winner was the People’s History Museum in Manchester and learning officer, Liz Thorpe said the award was the result of the museum putting itself in the shoes of the visitor and helped showcase it as a family destination.
“It gives us recognition that we’re not just a place to bring your kids but the place to bring your kids and that we have plenty of activities not just to keep them entertained but to get them engaged in the history as well,” she told Advisor last autumn.
What happens next?
Kids in Museums are now searching for an intrepid team of undercover family judges to visit the shortlisted museums. Over the summer, the family judges will assess the family friendliness of each shortlisted museum against the Kids in Museums Mini Manifesto. It will be their reports and experiences of visiting the museums alone that decide the winner of the 2018 Family Friendly Museum Award.
To become a family judge email [email protected]
The shortlisted museums are:
The Erewash Museum – Derbyshire
Leeds City Museum – West Yorkshire
Museum of the Order of St John – London
National Maritime Museum – London
Perth Museum and Art Gallery – Perth and Kinross
The Postal Museum – London
The Red House – Suffolk
Torquay Museum – Devon
Whitworth Art Gallery – Greater Manchester
Wrexham County Borough Museum, Wrexham
Yr Ysgwrn – Gwynedd