The shortlist for this year’s Family Friendly Museum Award has been revealed after a record-breaking number of votes from museum visitors.
Fifteen museums are in the running, whittled down from 800 venues that were nominated by families through an online ballot.
In addition to the overall award, prizes will be handed out in three new categories this year based on the size of the venue.
Two of National Museums Liverpool’s sites are nominated in the large museum category: the Museum of Liverpool and the World Museum. Glasgow’s Riverside Museum is the final nominee in this category.
University of Cambridge Museums has two venues in the medium museum category: Sedgwick Museum of Life Sciences and the University Museum of Zoology. The other nominees in this category are Bolton Museum and Art Gallery in Greater Manchester; Great North Museum Hancock in Newcastle-upon-Tyne; London Transport Museum; and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.
The nominees in the small museum category include two Scottish venues: the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline and the Devil’s Porridge Museum in Eastriggs. In Wales, Parc Howard Museum in Llanelli is up for the award, as are Hastings Museum and Art Gallery in East Sussex, Erewash Museum in Derbyshire and Valence House Museum in Dagenham, Essex.
The awards are overseen by the Kids in Museums charity. Children’s author Damian Dibben, who is an ambassador for the charity, said: “Since we began the award in 2004, we’ve seen a real sea-change in how museums cater for their family audiences. Each year the shortlisting gets more and more difficult and this year has been our most competitive yet.
“These museums have been shortlisted because they go above and beyond to put families first and make them feel welcome throughout their visit. We congratulate all our shortlisted museums. It’s now over to families to help us decide the winner.”
Each of the museums on the shortlist will be visited by undercover family judges over the summer. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London this October.