The Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline fended off competition from 14 other venues to be named the UK’s best heritage attraction for families. The museum received glowing reviews from family judges who praised its welcoming staff, colour-coded family zones, year-round programme of activities, sensory backpacks, hands-on exhibits and great facilities.
The Museum of Liverpool and the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle were also praised after topping the Large and Medium Museum categories respectively. The Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum won the Small Museum category, before going on to clinch the overall Family Friendly Museum Award 2019.
We award the prize annually to one museum, gallery, historic home or heritage site in the UK that goes the extra mile to provide a great experience for families. It is the only museum award in the UK to be judged by families.
This year’s award was the most competitive yet. We received over 800 public nominations, from which 15 museums were shortlisted by an expert panel. The finalists were assessed by undercover family judges, who visited the shortlisted museums over the summer, with their experiences deciding the winner.
Emmajane Avery, Chair of Kids in Museums, said: “I’m thrilled to see the first Scottish winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award, particularly in the award’s biggest year yet! This success is an excellent illustration of how museums, regardless of their size or budget, can provide a great experience for families. Congratulations to the team at the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum and to all our shortlisted museums, who are doing great things to welcome children and families.”
The free museum explores the legacy of Andrew Carnegie, from his humble beginnings in Dunfermline to becoming the richest man in the world and the father of modern philanthropy. This year also marks the centenary of Andrew Carnegie’s death.
One undercover family judge said: “Considering the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum is relatively small, we were not expecting to spend much time there. We had spent the day in Dunfermline doing other things, and were ‘popping in’ to the museum on our way back to the train station to head back home to Edinburgh. We ended up staying over two hours! The museum goes above and beyond in making themselves a welcoming place for families. I have visited many much bigger museums that don’t make even half as much effort. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to other families.”
The Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum succeeds last year’s winner, Leeds City Museum, which earlier this year celebrated its highest ever visitor figures.