A Co-op shop with old fashioned till that everyone can play with, craft tables and a place to make your own placard, a suffragette kitchen to explore, friendly welcoming staff, microscopes to look at bugs in the conservation studio, gender neutral toilets, a shop with an excellent range of pocket money toys and loads of buttons to press and games to play, these are just some of the excellent things that have made the People’s History Museum winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2017.
Relaunched in 2010 after a major refurbishment programme and attracting over 100,000 visitors per year, the People’s History Museum is the national museum of democracy. Families were incredibly impressed with how the museum combined local subjects such as the Peterloo Massacre with exhibits about broader themes in social and political history right up to the present day.
The Family Friendly Museum Award is the biggest museum award in Britain and the only award where families pick the winner. Earlier this year we received over 700 nominations from families and museums that were whittled down to a shortlist of ten. These were then road-tested by our family judges against the eight points in the Kids in Museums Mini Manifesto.
Here’s why one family thought their local museum should win: “We very much felt like they’d tried very hard to make the whole thing very inclusive – a lot of the exhibits echo diversity and inclusion”
With a collection of 1,500 objects celebrating the history of working people and a unique archive, the People’s History Museum stood out among this year’s shortlisted museums for listening to its family audience and making difficult subjects exciting and accessible. The recent exhibition, Never Going Underground: the Fight for LGBT+ Rights was curated with the local LGBT+ community with the aim of being family friendly and included special family packs. This exhibition was a highlight for many of our family judges. As one said, “The museum has very good ideas about how to deal with a difficult subject.”
Hedley Swain, interim Director of Museums, Arts Council England said: “This country’s museums are some of the best in the world and it’s fantastic that so many of them are committed to making it easier for families to enjoy their collections and the activities they have on offer. Huge congratulations to the People’s History Museum.”
Liz Thorpe, Learning Officer, People’s History Museum said: “We are so thrilled to win the Family Friendly Museum Award. It’s such an honour for all the staff who welcome families to the museum daily. Welcoming families is right at the top of our priorities and we hope we can be an inspiration to all, even to a future prime minister!”
The winner was announced on Monday 2 October at a ceremony at the historic May Fair Hotel in the Crystal Room under Europe’s largest Baccarat chandelier. The ceremony was conducted by Philip Mould – broadcaster, author and gallery owner.
The Family Friendly Museum Award 2017 is very generously sponsored by Nimrod Capital LLP and Edwardian Hotels.