Kids in Museums
The Kids in Museums Manifesto is compiled entirely from visitors’ comments. It’s a practical and powerful tool to encourage and support museums, galleries and historic houses around the country to make children, young people and family visits more enjoyable. Already over 550 museums have signed up, pledging to work towards putting the 20 points into practice. Why don’t you?
Connect with us and join the debate…
Have a look how the Manifesto transformed one museum and lead it to be shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award or click on a manifesto point to find out how to make the manifesto work for you.
- Say ‘Hello!’ and welcome every visitor. Curators, volunteers, front of house and those who work in the cafe should all be part of the family friendly experience.
- Be positive and do away with the word ‘No’. Tell visitors what they can do at the door, don’t pin up a list of things they can’t.
- Share stories with each other. Listen. Families can be experts too.
- Begin at birth. It’s never too early to visit a museum. They’re social, sensory, stimulating places – perfect for babies.
‘The colours and images brought art to life and my six month old son gave his first review – waving his arms, smiling and making loud noises.
- Play the generation game. Grandparents are increasingly important. Conversation between generations should be at the heart of what you do.
‘Oooh, we had one of those…That’s how Granny got the scar on her head from swinging on the mangle handle.’
- Invite teenagers in and let them hang out. Ask them if they want to get involved and value their opinions. Museums can lead the way in letting people know the contributions teenagers make.
- Be consistent about what age you consider adult. If you charge an adult price, do you let the young visitor in on their own?
- Reach beyond your four walls to new visitors. Ask how you can help make a visit possible. Take responsibility for the hurdles outside, even if they’re not put up by you.
- Be flexible in your activities, events and family tickets. Families come in all shapes and sizes. Design pricing and programmes with all sorts of families in mind.
- Chat online. Your social media and website need to be family friendly and up to date, so visitors can easily find what’s available and prepare for their visit.
- Create a comfy, safe place for children and families. Museums can be havens and make visitors feel better.
- Be the core of your community, with spaces where families can get together and talk.
‘I’ve always loved this museum. The idea of just going, here’s a space, do some stuff. That’s really cool.’
- Don’t say ssshhhush! If kids are being noisy, ask yourself ‘Why?’ Is it because they’re excited? Great! Then capture that excitement. Is it because they’re bored? Then give them something meaningful to do.
- Say ‘Please touch!’ as often as you can. Everyone finds real objects awesome. Direct kids to things that can be handled, teach respect and explain why others can’t.
- Give a hand to grown-ups as well as children. Sometimes it isn’t the kids who are shy – parents need your support too. Produce guides, trails and activities so everyone can join in.
‘The staff help me to talk to my children about the art, so I don’t feel embarrassed if I don’t know the answer.’
- Be aware of different families’ needs. Use your imagination with signs, symbols and words understood by all. Design everything you offer to be equally accessible to disabled and non-disabled visitors alike.
- Make the most of your different spaces, outside as well as inside. Cafes, gardens, stairways and reception areas are valuable parts of the museum too.
‘Even the lift is fun, as it has a Vermicious Knid in it, which always makes us laugh!’
- Keep an eye on visitors’ comfort. Make sure the toilets are always pleasant, with room for pushchairs and baby changing facilities. It’s the only place every family will visit. Provide somewhere to leave coats, bags and pushchairs, scooters and skateboards.
- Provide healthy, good-value food, with high chairs and unlimited tap water. Your cafe should reflect the same family friendly values as the rest of the museum.
- Make the visit live on. Build relationships with your family visitors and let them know you want to keep in touch, Involve them in long-term decision making at the museum. Give them a reason to come back. Families can be your best advocates.
‘So if asked your marks out of 5 for the museum, what would you say?’
‘For us the visit was a great success, because the museum had thought it all through.’
Culture24 is helping out by handling sign-ups to the Manifesto so when you fill in the form below, it’ll go them and you’ll hear back from one of their team.
Join us! Museums are signing up in support of the spirit of the Manifesto, so if you'd like further details please click here
Manifesto in the news
- Telegraph families have so far nominated space centres and fossils, bugs, bees and walruses for our Family Friendly Museum Awards. (26.02.13)
- 10 years of 20 ways to be Family Friendly (09.02.13)
- Kids Manifesto in Museums Northern Ireland Museums (06.02.13)
- Where the wild things are: ten years of Kids in Museums (05.02.13)
- Kids in Museums launches 10th anniversary manifesto (17.01.13)
Click on the links below to keep up to date with all the latest press coverage of the Kids in Museums Manifesto: