WE HAVE A LONGLIST FOR THE TELEGRAPH FAMILY FRIENDLY MUSEUM AWARD!
Fossils hidden in sandpits, a Victorian sweet shop and a tank full of frogs. It’s the thrill of the real that visitors were looking for in this year’s entries for the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award. As we all live in more virtual worlds, museums still offer real experiences with real things. That’s what makes them so special. As one young visitor said of M Shed museum in Bristol, ‘It’s interesting because it has older things than my Nan.’
But the very best family friendly museums don’t only let us look at their collection, but handle and hold it too. Children are no longer being told off for stroking the stuffed walrus or creaking open the wooden tea chest. Instead they’re being positively encouraged to do so. ‘You can get your hands on absolutely loads of things,’ wrote an 11-year-old about Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston. ‘There are touch screen games and lots of bags around the museum. In the bags are objects to feel and touch.’
From over 140 nominated museums, our volunteer panel picked the top twenty. Here they are:
Read about our longlist in the Telegraph here.
What Happens Next?
The 20-strong longlist is put before a panel of experts, chaired by Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The panel whittles down the longlist to a shortlist of Britain’s most family friendly museums. The shortlist will be announced in early July.
This shortlist is then road-tested anonymously by families. Would your family like to help pick the winner? Then email [email protected].
“It’s great that there’s an award which rewards museums and galleries for listening to what families really want. After all, we’re the experts, and we’re the audience. I know how important getting a museum visit right is. My passion for history began when I was a child. I remember being taken to museums, castles, battlefields and galleries across the UK. Back then, they were a pretty intimidating place for a child. My sisters and I could identify the one museum with interactive push buttons and demanded to be taken back again and again. Now I’ve taken my daughter to her first museum, the Beaulieu Motor Museum in Hampshire. She absolutely adores it, and gives that adoration full voice! The gallery assistants didn’t mind a bit. Now that’s family friendly! Museums are really changing, the displays, re-enactors, operating steam engines are all a far cry from the sssshushing and wall panels of my childhood. This award is another spur for museums to keep innovating. It’s hardly surprising that every museum wants to be voted Britain’s best for families.”
Dan Snow broadcaster, historian and patron of Kids in Museums
Want to find out more about the history of the Family Friendly Museum Award?
Have a look at some of our previous winners.
Have a look which museums made it on to our shortlist in 2012.