York Art Gallery wins Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum of the Year

York Art Gallery, which reopened last year following an £8m redevelopment, shone among the shortlisted museums as a place where people of all ages could come together

Kids in Museums have praised York Art Gallery, which has more than 1,000 paintings spanning five centuries, for its extraordinary attention to detail when it comes to families such as offering displays that babies can touch and lick, low-level labels and lots of comfy chairs.

The kids’ charity, which holds the annual awards, said these attributes at York Art Gallery were coupled with a dedicated Welcome Team, an excellent café, sketch pads dotted about the spaces and an edible woodland with herbs, berries, fruit trees and ornamental vegetables selected not only to look good, but taste good.

Left to right; Gaby Lees, Assistant Curator of Art Learning and Reyhan King, Director of York Museums Trust

“These are just some of the inspirational, excellent family-friendly things that have made York Art Gallery winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2016,” it said. “The gallery, part of York Museum Trust, has reopened dedicated to putting families at its heart.”

The Family Friendly Museum Award is the biggest museum award in Britain and the only award where families pick the winner. More than 70 nominated museums were whittled down to a shortlist of ten. These were then road-tested by Kids in Museums’ family judges against the 20 points in the Kids in Museums Manifesto.

“The whole makeover of the gallery is great and my family have felt unbelievably welcome. My kids are growing up visiting the art gallery, exploring the art work, mixing with other people and gaining confidence exploring,” were the thoughts from one family as to why their local museum should win.

York Art Gallery also hold art schools for teenagers, pottery workshops for families and Museum Monkey sessions for the under-2s.

“This is the most important thing that’s happened to York Art Gallery since we reopened,” said Reyhan King, Director of York Museums Trust. “This award celebrates our welcome and what real visitors and families experience. That’s what we’re most proud of.”

It was part of a ten-strong shortlist, which included: Egypt Centre Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (Swansea), Hampton Court Palace (Greater London), Manchester Art Gallery, National Glass Centre (Sunderland), The Novium Museum (Chichester), River & Rowing Museum (Henley-on-Thames), Towner Art Gallery (Eastbourne), Weald & Downland Open Air Museum (West Sussex) and Wrexham County Borough Museum.

Last year’s winner was Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery.