Leeds City Museum (LCM) has been named Family Friendly Museum of the Year 2018 by the charity Kids in Museums, from a shortlist of 11 UK museums.
The award is made annually to a museum “that has made outstanding efforts to welcome children and families and respond to their feedback”. Chosen from more than 550 nominations by museums and families, the shortlisted institutions were visited by undercover family judges, leading to LCM’s victory.
The museum’s “warm and welcoming” front-of-house staff were praised for their helpful approach, as was its exhibition programme for “being representative of the different communities in Leeds”.
Programmes that were highlighted included baby-friendly curator talks, signposted selfie points, and Dadstastic Days – free activity days run in partnership with Leeds Dads and Child Friendly Leeds that included baby raves, yoga story times, making magazine and scrap musical instruments, baking, sport, and family gallery trails.
The museum also runs regular activities for children and young people of all ages, including Museum Minis sessions for under-fives and a youth panel for 14- to 22-year-olds.
Emmajane Avery, the chair of Kids in Museums, said: “It was an extremely competitive year, with 11 brilliant venues in the shortlist, but the team in Leeds really impressed our family judges with their great welcome and willingness to help, as well as their varied and dynamic year-round public activities.
“My congratulations to everyone at Leeds City Museum and the undoubted inspiration they bring to the next generation of historians and culture lovers.”
Judith Blake, the leader of Leeds City Council, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled and immensely proud to see Leeds City Museum recognised for giving children and families such a warm welcome and for bringing history to life for thousands of young people in our city.
“This is a massive endorsement for the passion and enthusiasm of the team there and the dedication they show in making the museum a fun and accessible place for children to enjoy while they learn more about history, heritage and the world around them.”Samantha Flavin, the principal keeper of Leeds City Museum, said: “I’m particularly thrilled for our front of house team, who clearly gave the judges such a warm welcome when they visited.
“We always strive to make the museum a fun and accessible place for children and families and to help young people to connect with the collection and exhibitions. That takes a great deal of time, passion and dedication and it’s a huge boost for the team to see that recognised.
“It is also a recognition of the great work done by the whole service of Leeds Museums and Galleries and our wonderful staff across our nine sites who contribute to our programme.”
The ten other shortlisted museums were:
• The Erewash Museum, Derbyshire
• Museum of the Order of St John, London
• National Maritime Museum, London
• Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth and Kinross
• The Postal Museum, London
• The Red House, Suffolk
• Torquay Museum, Devon
• The Whitworth, Greater Manchester
• Wrexham County Borough Museum and Archives, Wrexham
• Yr Ysgwrn, Gwynedd