Run by the charity Kids in Museums, the Family Friendly Museum Award celebrates museums, galleries, historic homes or heritage sites in the UK that go the extra mile to provide a great experience for families.
Since it launched in 2004, the award has become a benchmark of excellence in the heritage sector. Each year Kids in Museums receives hundreds of public nominations, which are whittled down to a shortlist by an expert panel. The final say goes to families, who visit each shortlisted museum over the summer holidays, and decide the winners.
Competing against three other museums in the Best Medium Museum category, the museum clinched the win with family judges impressed by how all generations could get hands on and make together. The retro arcade event was a particular hit! The museum was also praised for working closely with its local community and providing great facilities, including discounted parking and a family friendly café.
One family judge said:
“The staff are this museum’s biggest asset. From the moment we stepped up to the entrance we were greeted by smiles and everyone seemed pleased to engage with us, even the smallest member of our group was spoken to and was asked about what they wanted to see (trains!). Even the most taciturn of 15 year olds thought the Arcade exhibition was ”cool”. Praise indeed!”
“We all really enjoyed our visit and would definitely visit again. Heather (10): “Best museum ever that we ever went to!”
The Museum of Making offers a world class visitor experience for families, made possible by its new and diverse team of passionate staff, ‘Visit Maker’ volunteers and experienced learning facilitators, all of whom create a warm welcome and personalised, impactful experience for families throughout their visit.
Admission to the museum is free, and families are encouraged to be curious, learn together and to try their hand at making, whatever their ability, inspired by the museum’s vast and unique collection of made objects and stories.
A vibrant programme of hands-on making activities, inspired by STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths), is available for families to participate in throughout the year. They can even curate their own collection tours around the museum’s huge open store of 30,000 objects, using the museum’s bespoke digital interactive, Trailmaker.
The museum offers special sessions for babies and tots to explore their senses and develop creativity and confidence through play, family workshops, drop-in events, on gallery-makes and maker encounters, as well as themed exhibitions, trails and tours, all of which seek to support young people and their caregivers in the development of 21st century skills, including creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.
The Museum of Making was recently highly commended for the Visitor Welcome Award at the 2022 Museums + Heritage Awards, and was a finalist for the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year Award 2022, the world’s largest museum prize, in recognition of its innovative work inspiring future generations to learn, think and make.
Derby Museums’ Director of Programming, Cathy Putz, said:
“We are delighted to have won the Kids in Museums Best Medium Museum Award, especially as the decision was made by undercover family judges who visited our museum over the summer holidays. Our staff and volunteer team work tirelessly to ensure that our family offer at the Museum is relevant, welcoming and inclusive to all and we are delighted that families felt this passion and commitment in their experience on site.”
Announced in London on Wednesday 19 October 2022, the winning museums in the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2022:
Winner: Best Small Museum + Overall Winner
National Emergency Services Museum, Sheffield
Winner: Best Medium Museum
Museum of Making, Derby
Winner: Best Large Museum
National Maritime Museum, London
Winner: Best Accessible Museum
Winner: Best Family Engagement Team
PK Porthcurno, Penzance in Cornwall
Follow the Family Friendly Museum Award on social media by following the hashtag #FamilyFriendlyMuseum.
The Family Friendly Museum Award has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England.
Cover image: © Kate Lowe Photography / Derby Museums