Family Friendly Museum

Kids in Museums opens nominations for Family Friendly Museum Award 2021

Image: Winners of the 2019 Family Friendly Museum Award

Museums, galleries and heritage sites are once again set to vie for the title of most family friendly museum, as part of a hugely popular initiative run by Kids in Museums.

Now in its 15th year, the contest returns in its customary format for 2021 after having morphed into the Family Friendly Museum Award From Home in light of last year’s global health disruption. The pandemic’s enduring impact can, however, be seen in the addition of a Best Digital Activity category.

Another new field for 2021 is Best Accessible Museum, which will join the well-established Small, Medium and Large Museum prizes in this year’s line-up.

Members of the public and museum staff are now invited to propose a venue they think should be commended for its family offer, with nominations closing at 5pm on 7th June.

An expert panel will then be brought in to whittle down the nominations to a shortlist which, assuming Covid-19 restrictions allow, will then be scrutinised by family judges on undercover visits to the sites.

The family adjudication panels’ experiences will decide the winner for each award category before the industry experts pick an overall winner to be announced in October.

How to be family friendly

Nominees are judged against the guidelines laid out in the Kids in Museums Manifesto, a family-led document which sets out simple guidelines on what makes a great museum visit.

The last winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award was the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline, Scotland. The museum won the title for factors including welcoming staff, colour-coded family zones, year-round programme of activities, sensory backpacks, hands-on exhibits and great facilities.

“We know that both families and museum staff can’t wait for heritage sites to be able to safely open their doors again soon,” says Alison Bowyer, executive director of Kids in Museums.

“This year’s Family Friendly Museum Award will take into account the efforts of museums to support and entertain family audiences digitally and in person. We want to recognise museums’ remarkable creativity and perseverance in challenging times, as well as ensure the voices of all families remain front and centre as museums reopen.”

Nominations for the Family Friendly Museum Award 2021 can be made here.