Tagged: Families

Launch of Family Friendly Museum Award 2018

The Family Friendly Museum Award 2018 has been launched, giving you and your visitors the chance to say why your museum, gallery, heritage site, science centre or historic home gives the warmest welcome to families. The Award – the biggest museum award in the country – and the only one where families pick the winner – is run by charity Kids in Museums. Kids in Museums works with museums nationwide to help them welcome families and children.

To find out more, including how to nominate your museum, visit the Kids in Museums website here.


Family Friendly Programme 2018

Many museums are seeing an increase in family visits, and are often responsible for delivering family activities in the school holidays, but many are aware of the need to improve their offer to cater for this audience. That’s why we have created this new Family Friendly Programme.

The programme has been developed by MDNW and aims to support six accredited museums, or those working towards accreditation that wish to develop their aspirations of becoming more family friendly in line with the Kids in Museums Manifesto and the Family Arts Standards.

Museums will be asked to:

  • Carry out a self-assessment of their museum using criteria provided and the results will be analysed against the family Arts Standards
  • Identify and recruit families that are able to undertake mystery shopper visits
  • Attend a workshop in October 2018 focussing on best practice and how best to implement recommendations
  • Arrange for participating families to return to the museum to undertake a second assessment after implementing changes.

Financial information

All costs associated with the family visits will be covered by MDNW.

Each participating museum can also apply for up to £750 to support them to implement the recommendations.


The family visits will take place over the Summer holidays and the workshop will take place in October 2018.

How to apply

Please complete the Expression of Interest form and send to Alex Bird by noon Wednesday 23rd May.

For more information please contact Alex Bird at alexander.bird@manchester.ac.uk

Family Friendly Museum Award 2018

The Family Friendly Museum Award 2018 is launched, giving you and your visitors the chance to say why your museum, gallery, heritage site, science centre or historic home gives the warmest welcome to families. The Award – the biggest museum award in the country – and the only one where families pick the winner – is run by charity Kids in Museums. Kids in Museums works with museums nationwide to help them welcome families and children.

For 2017 winners, People’s History Museum, Manchester, the Family Friendly Museum Award recognised the enormous contribution made by all the staff involved in their family offer:

“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!” (Liz Thorpe, Learning Officer, People’s History Museum)

Any member of staff or volunteer can nominate their museum for the Family Friendly Museum Award. You can also invite your visitors to send in their own nominations. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a giant National museum or a tiny two-room local gallery. You can be volunteer-run or boast a team of curators. You can be best known for your  outstanding coin collection or be alive with high-tech interactives (or even better – both!) What matters most is that your museum goes that extra mile to provide an excellent family friendly experience.

How to make a nomination

To give your museum the best chance of winning, we need you to tell us why it’s so special and why your family offer stands out. Do you have friendly staff and volunteers who go the extra mile for families? Is there a buggy park or a brilliant café? Do you always have activities for families come rain or shine? Tell us about the welcome and why your museum is the best for families. We love to hear all of your museum stories.

This year, we also want to hear about how your museum puts the Kids in Museums Mini Manifesto into practice. Tell us about how your museum has used the Manifesto to enhance its family welcome and how you meet each of the Manifesto’s eight points. 

Please make your nomination using our specially created form designed to tell us all about your museum. 

Click here and complete the nomination form

If you can’t fill in the form or want to send us something extra to make your nomination really shine, you can also make nominations and send supporting materials by email or post. 

Email: award@kidsinmuseums.org.uk and tell us why your museum should win. If you’re sending us extra supporting material please send as hard copy by post to the address below, not as attachments. 

Post: Family Friendly Museum Award, Kids in Museums, CAN Mezzanine, 7 – 14 Great Dover Street, London SE1 4YR.

The deadline for nominations is noon on 31 May 2018.

Promote nominations for your museum

Encourage others to nominate by telling them about your nomination on Twitter mentioning @kidsinmuseums #FFMA18

Want a free Quentin Blake poster to let your visitors know about your Award ambitions? Click here to order your free copy.

Find out more about the Award here

The Family Friendly Museum Award is kindly supported by  Edwardian Hotels London.

What happens next

A group of volunteers will sift through the hundreds of nominations we receive and whittle them down to a shortlist. The shortlist will be announced on 21 June 2018.

Over the summer, the shortlisted museums are road tested anonymously by our intrepid team of family judges using the Kids in Museums Mini Manifesto as a guide to their family friendliness.

Full terms and conditions for the Award can be found here.


Kids in Museums Wheelchair Resource

Kids in Museums believes museums are for everyone. But families with a wheelchair user find that some museums are much better than others at making them feel welcome and included in everything there is to see and do.

Wheelchair users come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Some wheelchair users will visit your museum with their parents, others will be the parent bringing their own young family. Some will come as part of a school visit or other group. Some wheelchair users will visit independently and others need someone to assist them. Wheelchair users have different levels of physical strength and different learning abilities. What all wheelchair users who visit museums have in common is the desire to be able to see and experience everything you have on offer – not just the exhibits but also your café, shop, toilets and outside spaces.

This resource gives museums and galleries a guide to accommodate families with wheelchair users and to download the full resource click here.

Innovative Approach to Families in Galleries

Four contemporary art galleries in the North bring in new family visitors with innovative approach

Evaluation shows new approach, funded by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, brings in 123,000 visitors but lessons are also learnt 

Four contemporary art galleries in the North of England have successfully brought in thousands of ‘under represented’ new visitors by commissioning special exhibitions aimed at a family audience and using an innovative communication approach, their new evaluation shows.

The Gymnasium Gallery in Berwick, Central Art Gallery in Ashton-under-Lyne, Towneley Hall in Burnley and the DLI Museum and Art Gallery in Durham worked together to create the Generation Tour which visited the galleries between September 2014 and September 2016. 

The Tour used a research-based approach to audience development and commissioned artists to develop four brand new hands-on contemporary art exhibitions designed to appeal to families. 

Lucy Jenkins, Art Curator for Durham County Council, said “This has been a very successful project with rich learning along the way that we can build on. We hope others in the culture sector can also gain something from our discoveries.” 

“We embarked on this project because family audiences were under represented in our venues. This was a missed opportunity, not only in terms of visitor numbers but because contemporary art can enrich the lives of families and encourage a lifelong appreciation and interest.” 

“We were delighted that the Generation Tour was so successful. More than 123,000 came to see the exhibitions. Nearly 1,500 filled out questionnaires that showed 83% were visiting as families and the average approval score was 8.7 out of 10.”

“We were especially pleased to see that 14% of those visiting had never set foot in an art exhibition before – getting visitors to try a completely new cultural genre is not an easy thing to do.”

To achieve these results, family focus groups were used and previous research applied to find out what the barriers were to families visiting and what they wanted from a visit. The clearest message was that contemporary art galleries were perceived as ‘hands off’ places where curious, noisy children would not be welcome. Many found the terminology used in marketing off-putting too – even the use of the word ‘art’ was a turn off for many.

The Generation Tour responded to this with exhibitions that were very much hands on, colourful marketing literature that was instantly recognisable as ‘for families’ and training for staff to ensure a warm welcome for this audience.

For all their mainstream appeal, the exhibitions didn’t compromise on artistic quality. Generation AIR by Spacecadets created ambient, breathing inflatables inspired by the human body; Generation NOISE by Owl Project offered huge wooden interactive sound machines; The Tree, The Caterpillar and The Butterfly by Aether and Hemera invited families to bring a nature garden to life using Xbox Kinect technology and Musical Chairs by Hellicar and Lewis offered the chance to compose a changing soundscape by joining hands with other humans. They successfully brought in many families but not everything went to plan.

“We learnt there was a tricky balance between showing families that contemporary art galleries could be hands on but also getting the message across that it was not exactly the same environment as a playground.” said Lucy Jenkins. ” When you’re encouraging people to interact with artworks you need to make sure they are really robust otherwise things can stop working and it causes stress for front of house staff”. 

“We’re now looking at our next steps and would like to commission new exhibitions. Funding permitting, these will use interpretation, exhibit robustness and staff training to help families interact with exhibitions in a way that’s both enjoyable for them and sustainable for the art offer.”

“With this learning we’re confident we can deepen the engagement for families further still and continue to play our part in turning around the perception that contemporary art galleries are not for families.” 

An infographic overview of the Generation Tour is available here and the full length evaluation here. Video interviews with families who attended the exhibitions are also available here.

Family Arts Campaign

The Family Arts Campaign aims to support organisations across the UK and across the visual and performing arts in providing high-quality activities for families and in growing and broadening the number of families taking part in the arts. It was an initiative of six visual and performing arts membership organisations and was devised in consultation with over 1,000 professionals and 2,000 families. It is supported using public funding through Arts Council England; additional Welsh activity is supported by Arts Council Wales.

The Campaign is focusing on three main areas of work: increasing the amount and range of high-quality content available, increasing the quality of experience, and improving marketing. There are several strands of activity, both sector- and public-facing, including the Family Arts Festival, the Family Arts Standards, Local Family Arts Networks, and training and resources.

For more information about the campaign and for details on how to join it take a look at the guidance.