Kids in Museums announces winners of Family Friendly Museum Award 2022 - Museums Association

Kids in Museums announces winners of Family Friendly Museum Award 2022

Sixteen museums were shortlisted for their commitment to providing a great family experience
Awards Families
Families say thank you to the National Emergency Services Museum
Families say thank you to the National Emergency Services Museum Msc1photography for Kids in Museums

The National Emergency Services Museum in Sheffield, an independent museum dedicated to celebrating the history of the emergency services, has been named the UK’s most family friendly museum by Kids in Museums.

The museum was revealed as the winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2022 at a ceremony in London on 19 October.

Kids in Museums awards the prize annually to one museum, gallery, historic home or heritage site in the UK that goes the extra mile to provide a great experience for families.

Each year’s public nominations are refined into shortlists and the final say goes to families themselves, who go undercover and visit the shortlisted museums over the school summer holidays, with their experiences deciding the winner.

Family judges were impressed by the hands-on nature of the National Emergency Services Museum, which encourages young people to learn through play with fire engine rides, driving simulators, dressing up, climbing walls, climb-on vehicles and interactive galleries. It covers topics from the Great Fire of London to modern fire safety and staying safe in the water.

One family judge said: “I think it’s one of the best museums I’ve ever been to… There was something for all our kids to experience. From dressing up to solving an investigation to ringing the fire bell.”


Families also praised the facilities, children’s meal options in the cafe, year-long tickets and relaxed atmosphere. The museum provides a chill out space, lift, Makaton signage and sensory backpacks to support families with special educational needs and disabilities.

It has worked with local autism network Autism Centre Sheffield more than 10 years to improve its provision, which includes dementia and ASD trained staff.

Another family judge said: “I thought the museum was incredible and we really enjoyed our visit. It was so well set up for children to interact with, and interesting for adults. Staff were friendly and the facilities were perfect. My daughter was smiling throughout the visit… we will be going back and I’ve already recommended it to numerous other families.”

The self-funded museum survived through Covid lockdowns thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign.

In June, 16 museums were shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award 2022. Five museums were given awards, including one in a new award category, Best Family Engagement Team, which celebrates the dedication, innovation and teamwork of museum staff and volunteers.

Winners in the Family Friendly Museum Award 2022

Overall Winner & Best Small Museum
National Emergency Services Museum, Sheffield

Best Medium Museum
Museum of Making, Derby

Best Large Museum
National Maritime Museum, London

Best Accessible Museum
Experience Barnsley

Best Family Engagement Team
PK Porthcurno, Cornwall

The National Emergency Services Museum succeeds last year’s winner, Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Philip Mould, president of Kids in Museums, said: “What’s so important is that this museum tells the story of our emergency services and shares lifesaving lessons in a surprising, engaging and joyful way. This dedicated team has created a place where families can learn together through play, truly bringing history to life. We’re so proud we can highlight this and the excellent work staff and volunteers are doing in Sheffield and right across the UK. Huge congratulations to all of this year’s superb winners.”

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