On 1 October last year, Leeds City Museum was named our Family Friendly Museum of the Year 2018.
Sam Flavin, Principal Keeper at Leeds City Museum, remembers the moment well: “We were absolutely gobsmacked. We were casually there with a glass of something and waiting for the buffet – and we were amazed.”
Leeds City Museum stood out from the 11-strong shortlist for its ‘warm and welcoming’ staff and dynamic year-round activities.
Sam says there is so much going on in the museum “it’s hard to keep up sometimes”! The museum’s programme includes weekly Tiny Tigers sessions for under 5s, a multi-sensory room for families with additional needs, a Saturday club for families, school holiday activities and visits from local schools. Overall, the museum welcomes 90,000 children every year
So what effect has winning our Family Friendly Museum Award had on their work with families?
Sam says: “Winning the Family Friendly Museum Award has been really positive. People that have known that City Museum was here have come and said: ‘I can’t believe we haven’t been before!’ So yes, we’ve had more visitors. We’ve just had February half term and that Tuesday, which is always the busiest, was the busiest ever and I’ve been working in museums for over 25 years.
“The knock-on effect then is that it helps us sustain our business. We run our own café and our own shop, so just from more people coming into the museum raises the profile, raises income.”
We asked Sam what advice she would give to other museums thinking of applying for the award:
“I would really encourage other museums to apply for the Family Friendly Museum Award. It’s such a positive experience from making a record of what you do and being proud of what you do, to celebrating with the people that you work with, the families that enjoy coming and supporting you… It’s a real celebration of all the work that we put into making museums family friendly.”
Nominations for this year’s award close at noon on 31 May. To find out more and to make a nomination, please visit our Family Friendly Museum Award page.