Category: Families

Creating Family Friendly Interactions Workshop

Creating family friendly interactions in the new normal 

Wednesday 14 October, 10.30am-12.30pm and Thursday 15 October, 10.30am-12.30pm

Kids in Museums and other Museum Development Teams to develop a workshop about interacting with family audiences, that is specifically aimed towards those working in front facing roles.

About this training

As families start to return to museums after lockdown, research shows that this audience want to feel safe, welcome and assured that staff are patient. 

In this virtual training day for front facing museum staff and volunteers, we will:

  • learn why family visitors are an important part of your visitor profile 
  • gain an understanding of the key concerns families have about visiting museums post-lockdown
  • together come up with ways to tackle common scenarios involving family visitors and COVID-19 restrictions
  • explore how you can use playful and safe ways to interact with families in a way that is relevant to your site.

This virtual training session will be delivered over two half day sessions (two hours with a short break). The sessions will be delivered with consultant Sarah Shaw, former National Family Interpretation Manager for English Heritage. In this role she implemented a family friendly training and development programme for all front facing staff and volunteers across the organisation.

Take a look at the schedule attached.

Who should attend?

These training webinars are suitable for those working in front facing roles and interacting with families on a regular basis in your museum. We can only take bookings from staff or volunteers from museums in the North West, North East and Yorkshire. 

Run in partnership with Museum Development North West, Museum Development North East and Museum Development Yorkshire. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Booking information

Free but booking is essential. Places are limited to one per organisation on a first-come, first-served basis.

To book a ticket, please click here.

Museums@home festival online – 23 August

Screenshot 2020-08-17 at 11.22.01

From West Cheshire Museums:

Museums@home festival online

Sunday 23rd August 2020

Cheshire’s Heritage Learning Network bring you a one-day online festival packed with family activities to entertain, engage and inspire.

Join us from 11am on Sunday 23rd August

Grosvenor Museum and Stretton Watermill Facebook page.

Templates for activities will be available to download on the day here.

Need more information?


Register your interest: Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search

Kids in Museums is once again partnering with Walker Books on a new October half term activity for families. They are inviting museums and heritage sites to register their interest in being part of the Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search.

The campaign will celebrate the launch of the new book, Where’s Wally? Spooky Spotlight Search, and encourage families to safely get out and about in museums over the October half term.

Organisations will be sent a free kit with everything you need to host your hunt for Wally. To register your interest in taking part, please fill in their online form and select ‘Museum Development newsletter’ in the how did you hear about us section. Please note that places are limited and this does not guarantee your place. The deadline for registering your interest is 5pm on Friday 31 July 2020.

Kids in Museums have also created a hash tag to encourage museums to share families enjoying themselves back in museums which if you were sending out a newsletter you could include:


Kids in Museums is running a social media campaign to encourage and build confidence in families to visit museums and heritage sites. They are asking museums to share pictures of their family visitors and to encourage families to share theirs on social media using the hashtag #KidsBackInMuseums. Kids in Museums will share these posts to help families hear others’ experiences and know what to expect from a socially distanced visit.

The Family Friendly Museum Award From Home!

From Kids in Museums:kids_in_museums_logo

Today we are delighted to open applications for our new award, celebrating how museums and heritage sites have supported families through lockdown.

We are celebrating the work of museum staff with a special one-off set of awards: the Family Friendly Museum Award From Home.

We are inviting families and museums to share what they think is the best virtual activity created by a museum, gallery, historic house or heritage site.

We are looking for museums that have stayed in touch with their family audiences during lockdown and engaged new families with imaginative and accessible digital content. It could be a live broadcast, craft activity, quiz, social media challenge, game or something else!

There are five award categories – including, for the first time ever, an international award category.

As usual, family judges will help us to decide the winners, along with an expert panel of museum professionals.

There will be no overall award winner in 2020. Instead each category will have a winner and highly commended award.

We appreciate this is a challenging time for museums and their staff. Entering the award is free and completing the application form should take no longer than 15 minutes. Nominations are now open until 5pm on 30 June 2020.

To find out more and apply click here

Fantastic for Families Awards – Deadline Extended

From Family Arts Campaign:fantastic_for_family

We have extended the deadline for the Fantastic for Families Awards to midday on Friday 22nd May 2020.

The Fantastic for Families Awards celebrate the wealth of outstanding creative events and spaces for families across the UK.

Whether you are part of a venue or a company, a museum or heritage site, a library, or you’re an artist or a producer, you can apply for a national Fantastic for Families Award.

Remember that we’re also celebrating excellent work for older family members with the award for Best Age-Friendly Cultural Organisation.

We know that many organisations have staff members under furlough. If you know that you will be unable to submit an application by 22nd of May, please contact and we will endeavour to arrange a suitable extension for your application. We will need to receive your request for an extension before the application window closes on 22nd May.

To download an application form, click here

Kids in Museums Carnival

From Kids in Museums:


Kids in Museums Carnival

  • Museum of Liverpool
  • 29 April 2020, 11am-4pm
  • Tickets: £32.93 (We are offering a limited number of free places for staff who are in their first roles within a museum, which will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.)

The Kids in Museums Carnival is a celebration of the work going on across the UK to involve children, young people and families in heritage.

Through lightning talks and interactive workshops, you will hear a range of best practice approaches from the museums shortlisted for our Family Friendly Museum Award 2019. We’ll explore how to be family friendly on a budget, overcome practical barriers, support young people’s mental health, get involved in our programmes and much more!

Take a photo in our selfie booth, drop by our advice stall and try your hand at designing a party hat to celebrate 10 years of Takeover Day.


We hope to see you there! Find out more and book your place.


Kids in Museums Event: Meaningful consultation with children and families

Monday 24th February
Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum
Tickets – £92.81

From Kids in Museums:

During this training day we’ll explore a range of techniques for consulting families and children. We’ll explore case studies from Thinktank, the Lapworth Museum of Geology and Westminster Abbey. Charlotte Derry from Playful Places and Happy Museum will also provide top tips for playful consultation with this audience.

The day will help delegates to:

• think about the differences between evaluation and consultation

• gain inspiration from case studies to take your own work forward

• find out about a range of techniques to consult with under 5s, children and families including playful approaches

• explore how to recruit children and families to undertake consultation.

Take a look at the full schedule here.

Who should attend?

This training is aimed at staff who work in museums, art galleries and heritage sites who are interested in exploring ways to meaningfully consult with families and children.

For more details and to book a ticket, visit the eventbrite page.


Family Arts Campaign Leadership Symposium

Wednesday 11th March 2020
Museum of London
Tickets – £75.00 + VAT

From the Family Arts Campaign:

This event is open to Chief Executives, Directors and Heads of Department. If you’d like to attend but aren’t sure if you fit this category, please contact before booking.

We are delighted to announce that the Family Arts Campaign will be delivering its national Leadership Symposium on 11th March 2020 at The Museum of London.

This event will focus on Leading Change: Shaping the Future of Family Engagement and invites senior leaders from across the cultural sector to take part in discussing, learning and challenging some of the key issues facing family engagement in the coming years.

The day will include:

  • Rebecca Blackman, National Director for Engagement and Audiences at Arts Council England on the future of arts engagement for families.
  • Transforming Leadership: this workshop from Mark Robinson at Thinking Practice will allow you to challenge existing leadership models. Mark will present thoughts arising from recent work for the Creative People and Places network, Multiplying Leadership in Leadership Communities, and will describe a ‘multiplying leadership’ practice that challenges still dominant patriarchal models. Activity will explore how you can develop your approach to this in your own work and within your networks.
  • Starting Afresh: In this session we will explore how organisations have led / are leading a significant change that has positively impacted family audiences and engagement. Rebecca Holt, Executive Director & Deputy CEO of Battersea Arts Centre, will share their approach to becoming a Relaxed Venue. Our hosts the Museum of London will share the thought process around planning their move to Smithfield, and physical spaces for family audiences.

The day will also be an opportunity to meet, network with, and join facilitated discussions with fellow senior leaders, as well as play a key part of supporting the changes needed in the cultural sector to improve family engagement.

Registration will open at 10.30am for an 11am start and the event will finish at 5pm with a drinks reception until 6pm.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

The day will be Chaired by Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive & Artistic Director of ARC, Stockton Arts Centre.

For more details and to book a ticket, visit the eventbrite page.

Opportunity: Dippy on Tour to Rochdale – February to June 2020

Dippy, the iconic Diplodocus skeleton cast from the Natural History Museum (NHM), will be visiting Rochdale from 10th February to 28th June 2020 as part of a nationwide tour of the country.

Dippy will be on display at Rochdale Borough Council building, Number One Riverside and there will be an accompanying family friendly exhibition at Touchstones Rochdale on the themes of dinosaurs, biodiversity and Rochdale 300 million years ago.  The project is a partnership between Link4Life and Rochdale Council.  More about Dippy’s visit to Rochdale can be found here –

Dippy’s visit gives the opportunity for other organisations and venues within the North West region to organise their own ‘Natural History Adventure’ themed events to celebrate Dippy’s visit.

The ‘Natural History Adventure’ programme is a brilliant way to get free publicity for your organisation or venue through the NHM website, events leaflet and use of the logo. To organise your own ‘Natural History Adventure’, it must relate to at least one of the themes of Dippy’s tour:

  • accessing natural history collections
  • celebrating local biodiversity
  • encouraging families to explore nature on their doorstep
  • helping young people to connect with the natural world
  • people gaining a deeper understanding of nature through science

The events must take place between 10th February and 28th June 2020 and can be activities you have previously run or entirely new activities. 

Publicity for the ‘Natural History Adventures’ programme is through the NHM: – they will be producing and distributing 10,000 leaflets in the region and there will be complete online listings through their website (see example of online listings here – and attached ‘Natural History Adventures’ leaflet for Birmingham and the West Midlands as an example)

Deadline for inclusion in the ‘Natural History Adventures’ leaflet for the North West is the 2nd December 2019details of all events are to be emailed directly to Victoria Sheenan at the NHM ( using the following format:

–          Title (type)

–          Venue, Location

–          Dates, Prices

–          Explanatory sentence – max 20 words

–          Web-link

If it is agreed by Victoria that the event can be part of the ‘Natural History Adventures’ programme then organisations can use the ‘Natural History Adventure’ logos (they will be emailed to you by Victoria).

Participating venues must count, and report, numbers for each event and report these directly to Victoria at the NHM. Events must be identified as ‘Natural History Adventures’ NOT ‘Dippy on Tour’

The ‘Natural History Adventure’ events accompanying the previous Dippy exhibitions around the country have been very successful at attracting visitors so we highly recommend being involved in it if you can!  A varied and interesting programme of events will help to create a real buzz and excitement around the region during Dippy’s historic visit here.

Please click here for NHM guidelines about the programme and more information.

If you know anyone that would like to be a Dippy Volunteer during the Rochdale leg, please follow the link to the Dippy Volunteers information on the Visit Rochdale website with all the information about how to apply.  The closing date for applying is Sunday 17th November.

From Liz McNabb, Heritage Officer – Dippy on Tour, Link4Life

Messing About in the Museum 3

Museum 3: Playful adults, children’s rights & play as protest

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 13.29.35


Playful adults, children’s rights & play as protest

This time, Messing about in the Museum is tackling some tough stuff – thinking about play and politics in many glorious forms. There will be presentations around how play can be used for protest, and how museums can support childrens right to play, the value of playful staff training. OUr afternoon workshop session will question and challenge whether there is value and importance in supporting adults to be playful too. At a time where children’s equitable access to their community spaces is limited, why should we support developing playful adults too?

The first half of the day will be full of short inspiring presentations, followed by opportunities to share ideas and to network. There will be a practical afternoon workshop to help you think deeply about your own provision for people and play, depending on your current focus and priorities. As usual we’ll aim to tailor our workshop to where you are at, so expect to do a tiny bit of prep work before you come (we’ll send you a few questions after you’ve booked your ticket!)

A ticket for the day will cost £37 and lunch and refreshments will be provided. The event is kindly being hosted by Leeds City Museum.

This is how previous attendees felt after our messing around events:

“Playful, creative, excited, positive, optimistic, inspired, enlightened.”

“The group focus and discussion on playful approaches revealed many solutions to problems that have been difficult to solve in isolation.”

“Since the session we are going to experiment with our spaces, creating conditions rather than activities for play – changing the way we have done things in some areas for a long time.”

Session content and confirmed speakers to date

The People’s History Museum will be speaking about play and the past, present and future of protest. Inspired by the last Messing Around workshop, the museum began thinking about playful forms of protest that they could use to engage families in the theme, but also challenge misconceptions that protest is always aggressive. The PHM will talk about their research and the real examples of playful protests that they could link to a playful activity in the building.

Anja Keitel-Campsall from Coventry Transport Museum will be talking about their new approach to providing staff with play training, and about what goes on in their Mini Museum Engineers sessions.

Charlotte Derry from Playful Places will be sharing some insights into the Welsh Play Sufficiency Legislation introduced 6 years ago designed to support children’s right to play. She’ll be asking – what can the cultural sector learn from this groundbreaking legislation – particularly about how to evaluate and improve provision for play, and considering spatial justice for children.

Kate Fellows, Lifelong Learning Manager at Leeds Museums and Galleries will explore how Leeds City Museum won it’s family friendly award & how the museums service includes its adult visitors in a playful way. Expect something playful and interactive from Kate!

Other speakers to be confirmed!

Talking play

As with all of the Happy Museum gatherings, the session will be conversational, playful and experimental, as well as serious. You might be curious and new to play, or wanting to go deeper into understanding and practice. There will be lots of time to share ideas and talk with people with different levels of experience. We believe the best learning happens when we spend time talking together making meaningful connections, and when we have fun – we’ll aim to do lots of both during the session!

Our Top Tip

We would strongly encourage you to come with colleagues if possible – ideally representing a range of roles within your service: Play impacts upon and affects everyone’s roles and providing playful opportunities works best when everyone is part of planning and managing it.

Timings and cost

The workshop itself will take place between 11 a.m. and 4.15 p.m, with arrival and refreshments available from 10.30 a.m. We’ll send full joining instructions closer to the date of the event. The cost is £36 per person plus a small booking fee.

To book tickets please visit:


For more information about the event, please get in touch with Charlotte Derry on 07982 198469 or via