The winner of 2012 Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award was Haslemere Educational Museum.
Kids in Museums Patron, Mariella Frostrup said, “This Award is important because it gives a real voice to families and children – letting them choose what works in a museum for them. They chose Haslemere not because of an outstanding collection – even though there’s a lovely stuffed bear, a giant spider crab and even an Egyptian Mummy – but because of the welcome they received. Nothing was too much for the staff and volunteers. It’s a gem.”
Sandra Tellyn, who visited the museum with her three children anonymously as family judges said, “The volunteers couldn’t have been more welcoming. And as we were going out, my seven year old said he wanted to have a look at the shop but it was closing. The assistant heard, pulled away the barrier and said, “No problem – go and have a look!” She didn’t rush us at all. Another volunteer told us about Hype, the museum’s teenagers’ club, and their photography project. My son is almost 13. It was perfect. Everyone we spoke to gave more than they had to. They were just amazing. It’s a little haven.”
Kids in Museums received more nominations for this year’s Award than ever before, showing how important museums are to children and families and how many are getting it right. Haslemere, a small independent museum in Surrey, shone through because of its warm and welcoming attitude and wide range of activities and clubs for children and teenagers. Our judging families particularly noticed how friendly the volunteers were, willing to have a chat to visitors of all ages and point out interesting things to do.
The Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award is the biggest museum award in Britain and the only one judged by families. Read more about it in the Telegraph.
The shortlisted museums
‘Some of the things I liked – looking through masks, feeding the fish, watching the ants, learning about dinosaurs, the big german rocket, doing the trail, looking at the cool things in the shop. I loved the day I went to the museum. I loved EVERYTHING!’ Nathan, 7
‘The staff are very friendly and helpful and we had a great time doing all the free things. The dinosaur lecture was brilliant. A brilliant day out with my dad.’ Ella, 7
‘The volunteers who keep the kids entertained with mask making and art workshops are especially good and have the patience of a saint.’ Graeme Jones, Liverpool
‘We visited with our daughter, her partner and their two daughters, aged 6 and 4. We were impressed by the exhibits at low level, explanations that weren’t too long but weren’t patronizing, interactive items. The art activities were great and the children were kept very busy colouring in Festival of Britain symbols. It made me feel old!’ Viv Elsom
‘A favourite haunt for our family. The picnic room is a big draw in these cash strapped times – though weary parents can still get a decent coffee in the café.’ Karen O’Connor
‘We have been visiting Museum of London Docklands since Alex was 6 months old. Storytelling, workshops, play area – love them all.’ Kateryna Larrson
Brixham Heritage Museum, Devon
‘The staff are not stuffy. They enjoy helping everyone and all ages, with different trails to follow and things to find, sitting in a model boat, drawing and doing mosaics, dressing up, pushing buttons to make the appropriate noises. Mothers and fathers too can easily find something to interest them or just chill out watching the train video.’ Cathy Craig, Brixham
’I really enjoyed the paper workshop and all the textile workshops too – they’re two things I’ve never done before. Thanks!’ teenager
‘I am a regular at the Make Your Mark sessions where my 18 month old daughter can get down and dirty with paints and have access to things she would never play with at home. One week we found ourselves painting with ketchup and coffee!’ Rachel Munson
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
’Ben, 4, and Thomas, 2, knew exactly where they wanted Granny to go. They lead me to the amazing T Rex and all the other wonderful stuffed animals, past steam engines and racing cars, ending up in a room full of interesting things to do and experiment with, quiet corners with books to sit and read, musical instruments to play, drawers and cupboards to peek inside, convex and concave mirrors to parade past once dressed up. What a fantastic way to get two wee boys to actually ask to go and visit a museum. I can’t wait to take them back.’ Charlotte Hunt, Stirlingshire.
Read about the shortlist in the Telegraph.
Have a look who made it on to our longlist in 2012.
Want to find out more about the history of the Family Friendly Museum Award? Have a look below at some of our previous winners
Previous winners of the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award are:
2004 Award winner, Killhope Mining Museum
2005 Award winner, Oxford Museums
2006 Award winner, Falmouth Art Gallery
2008 Award winner, Weston Park Museum, Sheffield
2010 Award winner, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
2011 Award winner, Mansfield Museum