A report published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has revealed that the annual number of visitors to British museums dropped by two million in 2016. There was also a six percent fall in the number of school visits, attributed to funding and time restrictions, increased transport costs and security fears.
However some museums are bucking the trend. Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax, West Yorkshire, saw a six percent rise in school visits last year, whilst the number of overall visitors steadily rose.
The museum, which celebrates its 25th birthday in 2017, is a unique and interactive attraction where children are encouraged to learn through play in six different zones. These include ‘All About Me’ which focuses on the human body, ‘SoundSpace’ where children can learn about the science of sound and music, and ‘Living and Working Together’ which offers young visitors the opportunity to roleplay a wide range of professions, from mechanic to bank manager.
Eureka! Chief Executive Leigh-Anne Stradeski puts the museum’s continued success down to a number of factors, including continually adapting and updating content to ensure that the exhibitions provide a rich learning experience and a creative pricing strategy. The standard Eureka! ticket is also an Annual Pass, allowing all of the visitors paid-for on the first day to come back, for free, as many times as they like over the next 12 months.
Eureka! aims to build on its success in the future, as Stradeski explains “Museums have to challenge themselves to stay relevant and that’s why we’re investing in Eureka! in 2017 with a brand new flexible gallery space. This will initially host an international digital arts touring exhibition, a first for us, showing that 25 years since opening we are still as relevant to our audience as ever.”
We love a success story at Kids in Museums, and are thrilled to have Eureka! signed up to our project’s Manifesto. Just last month, we released our new Mini Manifesto, which includes eight easy steps to put families at the heart of your museum. Why not take a look?
Laura French, Assistant News Editor