We have reached that point in the proceedings of the Family Friendly Museum Award where the difficult decision of whittling the 20 strong long list of museums down to the six best. The whittling, trimming and list pruning has been done by a panel of expert judges from the museum world and here it is, ready for the people who really know what makes a good museum (that would be you, dear readers) to have you say.
This is the biggest museum award in the UK and the only one judged by families and visitor feedback.
Before I get going on how you can get involved and have your say on what the most family museum in the country is, you’re going to need to see the list.
Here it is…
The Diving Museum in Gosport, an unusual little museum that looks at the history of diving and underwater exploration.
When I visited this quirky museum on the south coast I tried on some antique diving gear and got to indulge my love of the museum mannequin. It’s great to see such a small and quirky museum make this prestigious list.
The Geffrye, the Museum of the Home in London is one that often makes the long list for this award. After what feels like years and years of trying, they have *finally* broken through the barrier to make it on to the short list.
The National Coal Mining Museum for England in Wakefield is a new name for the list, but an important one. Growing up nowadays, sometimes it’s hard to imagine a time when mining was an important part of the national consciousness, so seeing this museum on the list was fantastic. It’s also important to bear in mind that national museums can and do exist outside of London!
If you think that coal mining might be a hard topic to sell the kids on for a visit, they have an exhibition about ponies on over the summer…
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter calls itself the ‘home of a million thoughts’ and is one of those encyclopaedic museums that has pretty much everything. They think carefully about how people can access these collections, and produced a BSL guide as part of their Takeover Day Project.
Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, like the Geffrye, is another museum that we seen time and time again on the long list. Seeing it here on the shortlist shows that hard work and perseverance really does pay off!
The Winding House in Caerphilly was another nice surprise to see make it this far. It’s centred around a Victorian Winding engine that was used to shuttle miners up and down the shaft between the surface and the mine.
As you can see, that’s quite the mix!
So, is there a shortlisted museum near you? Take a look at this map to find out…
Now: how do you make your voice heard? If you’re interested in becoming a mystery judging family, head on over to the Kids in Museums award site where they ha the details about how to volunteer!
Finally, congratulations to all the museums who have made it this far! It’s a massive achievement, and good luck!