Nominations open for the Family Friendly Museum Award 2021

Museums, galleries and heritage sites are invited to compete for the title of the UK’s most family friendly museum.

Each year Kids in Museums puts the power in families’ hands to crown the winner of its annual Family Friendly Museum Award. Now in its fifteenth year, the award recognises the heritage sites that go the extra mile to provide a great experience for children, young people and families.

Members of the public and museum staff are invited to put forward the museum they think should win by visiting the Kids in Museums website and filling in the online form: Nominations close at 5pm on 7 June 2021.

Returning after a one-off celebration of digital activities in 2020, this year’s award will recognise the hard work, innovation and dedication of museum staff – both on site and online.

An expert panel and undercover family judges will consider museums’ efforts to support and welcome families since the last Family Friendly Museum Award winner was announced in October 2019.

In addition to Small, Medium and Large Museum, there are two new award categories for 2021: Best Accessible Museum and Best Digital Activity. An overall winner will be decided from the winners of these five award categories. Full guidance and eligibility criteria for museum applications can be found on the Kids in Museums website.

Alison Bowyer, Executive Director of Kids in Museums, said: “We know that both families and museum staff can’t wait for heritage sites to be able to safely open their doors again soon. This year’s Family Friendly Museum Award will take into account the efforts of museums to support and entertain family audiences digitally and in person. We want to recognise museums’ remarkable creativity and perseverance in challenging times, as well as ensure the voices of all families remain front and centre as museums reopen.”

In June, an expert panel will whittle down the nominations to a shortlist. If COVID-19 restrictions allow, undercover family judges will then visit each shortlisted museum and assess them on how well they meet the Kids in Museums Manifesto – a set of simple guidelines created by children, young people and families on what makes a great museum visit.

The family judges’ experiences will decide the winner for each award category. An expert panel will then pick an overall winner to be announced in October 2021.

The last winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award was the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline, Scotland. 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.

Follow the action on social media by following @kidsinmuseums and #FamilyFriendlyMuseum.

The Family Friendly Museum Award has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England.