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Kids in Museums – Britain’s only national charity representing the needs and experiences of young people and families in museums – is ten years old.
In 2003, journalist Dea Birkett’s family was thrown out of the Royal Academy of Arts when her two year old son shouted ‘Monster!’ at an Aztec statue which looked rather like, well, a monster. There was a huge public outcry – and Kids in Museums was born. Now Kids in Museums works with museums to make them more family and child friendly, in particular for those who have never visited before. And exactly ten years after the family was thrown out for being too noisy, Kids in Museums and the Royal Academy are joining forces at Monday night’s party to shout about how good it is to include young people.
Mariella Frostrup, Kids in Museums Patron, says, ‘It’s great to see how museums have changed over the last ten years, and how Kids in Museums has been such a huge force in making this happen. I remember when museums were stuffy places that you’d be dragged along to by a great aunt. Now teenagers and toddlers can all enjoy the fabulous stuff museums have. The Royal Academy and others should be proud of their achievements. Now I’m an External Member of Council at the Royal Academy, as well as being Patron of Kids in Museums. It just shows how things have really changed!’
Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, says, ‘We are delighted to be hosting the 10th Anniversary of Kids In Museums. The Academy has undergone tremendous change within the past 10 years. We now have a rich and vibrant learning programme, comprising a broad range of activities for children, students, families and adults. With an exciting plan to develop our learning facilities for the future, we are committed to welcoming the widest possible audience to see our exhibitions and to visit the Academy.’
Dea Birkett, Director of Kids in Museums, says, ‘Our story is a clear indication that change is possible, even in established, prestigious institutions. The Royal Academy does astounding work with young people and welcomes family visits. Kids in Museums is dedicated to making this change possible everywhere, so every museum and gallery puts children and families at their heart.’
At an event at the Royal Academy on evening Monday 14th January, the birthday candles on the Kids in Museums 10th birthday cake will be blown out by poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen. AttRAct students, national museum directors and leaders from the arts sector and beyond will be in attendance.