Run by charity Kids in Museums, the award is the biggest and only museum award in Britain to be decided by families. Baby-friendly curator talks, signposted selfie points, ‘Dadstastic’ Days, and excellent facilities are just some of the things that helped Leeds to fend off competition from museums across the UK.
Kids in Museums awards the prize annually to one museum that has made outstanding efforts to welcome children and families and respond to their feedback. The charity received over 550 nominations from both families and museums, which were whittled down to a shortlist of 11 by an expert panel. Undercover family judges then visited and assessed each shortlisted museum, with their experiences deciding the winner.
Leeds City Museum stood out for its ‘warm and welcoming’ staff, who were present throughout the museum and went the extra mile to help visitors. Families also praised the museum for being representative of the different communities in Leeds in its exhibitions.
This year marks ten years since Leeds City Museum reopened in the former Mechanics’ Institute. The museum was originally established in 1821 and is run by Leeds Museums and Galleries (LMG), the largest local authority-run museum service in England.
Emmajane Avery, Chair of Kids in Museums, said: “I’m delighted that we are able to recognise the fantastic work that Leeds City Museum is doing to engage young people and their families. It was an extremely competitive year, with 11 brilliant venues in the shortlist, but the team in Leeds really impressed our family judges with their great welcome and willingness to help, as well as their varied and dynamic year-round public activities. My congratulations to everyone at Leeds City Museum and the undoubted inspiration they bring to the next generation of historians and culture lovers.”
Over 90,000 children went to Leeds City Museum in 2017, with the majority of children visiting with their families. The museum holds regular groups for all ages, from ‘Museum Minis’ for under 5s to the Preservative Party youth panel for 14-22 year olds. Local schoolchildren have even contributed to museum displays and hosted events.
Leeds is the third Yorkshire attraction to win the accolade, joining previous winners York Art Gallery (2016) and Weston Park Museum in Sheffield (2008).
Last year’s winner, the People’s History Museum in Manchester, was on hand to present the award.
Liz Thorpe, Learning Officer at the People’s History Museum, said: “As a museum that explores powerful themes, we may not always have appeared the obvious choice for a family day out. The accolade of Family Friendly Museum of the Year 2017 has helped to change this view and celebrate the work that we do to ensure our experience creatively engages and inspires all visitors. It has given us the confidence to develop our offer even further and since receiving the award we are delivering a larger early years programme and multisensory resources to support SEND visits.”
The Family Friendly Museum Award is kindly supported by Edwardian Hotels London.
Notes to Editors
For more information and images, please contact Jocelyn Murdoch at Kids in Museums on [email protected] / 020 3096 7707.
About Kids in Museums
We are an independent charity dedicated to making museums open and welcoming to all children, young people and families. We support and champion family friendly organisations through wide-ranging initiatives, including the Family Friendly Museum of the Year Award and Takeover Day. We invite heritage organisations to sign up to our Manifesto, which sets out simple guidelines for making museums easy to reach for all ages. www.kidsinmuseums.org.uk
About the Family Friendly Museum Award
Kids in Museums began the Family Friendly Museum Award in 2004 and the prize is now in its thirteenth year. The Award champions museums who place families’ voices at the heart of their organisations. The nominees are judged against the Kids in Museums ‘Mini Manifesto’, which is an easy guide to what families and children want and need on a museum visit.
Previous winners include the People’s History Museum in Manchester (2017), York Art Gallery (2016), Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle (2015) and the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall (2014).
The other shortlisted museums for the 2018 Family Friendly Museum Award were:
- The Erewash Museum, Derbyshire
- Museum of the Order of St John, London
- National Maritime Museum, London
- Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth and Kinross
- The Postal Museum, London
- The Red House, Suffolk
- Torquay Museum, Devon
- The Whitworth, Greater Manchester
- Wrexham County Borough Museum, Wrexham
- Yr Ysgwrn, Gwynedd