What makes a museum especially family friendly? Is it trails for toddlers? Art sessions for teenagers? Highchairs in the cafe?
All good – but not good enough. Each museum on the shortlist for the 2011 Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award has also shown a commitment to the local community. From Kilmartin House in Argyll to Corinium Museum in Cirencester, family visitors said that the six-strong shortlist were a huge asset to them, as important as their local clinic or school. Abbey House Museum in Leeds holds birthday parties. At the Horniman Museum in South London, families are welcome to drop in anytime, not only during specific activities for them. The local singing group use Mansfield Museum as their venue. Grandparents in Stoke-on-Trent think the Potteries is a great place to take their grandchildren on a weekend. All these museums put the people who use them at their heart.
About the Award
The Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award is the biggest museum award in Britain. A panel of judges, chaired by Jenny Abramsky, Heritage Lottery Fund Chair, chose the shortlist of six museums from a 20-strong longlist nominated by hundreds of visitors.
What happens next?
From the shortlist, families will decide which museum is this year’s winner. Each shortlisted museum will be visited, anonymously, by several families of all shapes and sizes. They will measure the museum against the Kids in Museums Manifesto – 20 ways to make a museum family friendly – compiled entirely from visitors’ comments. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on 7th April and in the Guardian on 9th April.
The prize is a Giant Folded Sheet, designed and donated by Foldedsheet.com.
* Abbey House Museum, Leeds
* Corinium Museum, Cirencester
* Horniman Museum, London
* Kilmartin House, Argyll
* Mansfield Museum, Nottinghamshire
* The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent
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