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This year, a small volunteer-led museum and gallery in Northumberland has been crowned the UK’s best museum for families in the Kids in Museums’ annual awards.

Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery in Alnwick has been named winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2021 in an online ceremony hosted by art dealer and broadcaster Philip Mould (BBC’s Fake or Fortune?).

Run by the charity Kids in Museums, the national award is given annually to one museum, gallery, historic home or heritage site in the UK that goes the extra mile to provide an excellent experience for families.

Bailiffgate Museum Gallery Kids in Museums 2

The local museum blew families away with its welcoming volunteers and relaxed atmosphere. Families loved exploring the Viking camp, following the museum mouse trail, being encouraged to get hands-on throughout, seeing information displayed at child height and the practical family facilities.

Since it launched in 2004, the Family Friendly Museum Award has become a benchmark of excellence in the heritage sector. Each year Kids in Museums receives hundreds of public nominations, which are whittled down to a shortlist by an expert panel. The final say goes to families, who visit each shortlisted museum over the summer holidays and decide the winner.

“This year’s winner really exemplifies what the Family Friendly Museum Award is all about. At its heart is a group of devoted volunteers working hard to welcome and support their local community.

Thanks to their efforts, Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery has excelled in allowing families to feel free to be themselves and to have fun and engage with the history inside the museum.”

Philip Mould, President of Kids in Museums

After another challenging year, Phillip Mould also highlighted the excellent work that staff and volunteers are doing across the country and the sector, congratulating all this year’s winners.

Three London museums were also recognised for their excellent work with families in the ceremony, including the new Best Accessible Museum category. Museums in Wales and Manchester also received prizes for their digital activities for families.

Winners: Family Friendly Museum Award 2021

  • Overall Winner and Best Small Museum: Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery, Alnwick
  • Best Medium Museum: London Transport Museum
  • Best Large Museum: Horniman Museum and Gardens, London
  • Best Digital Activity: National Museum Wales – Museum Sleepover: At Home and The Whitworth, Manchester – Play Live
  • Best Accessible Museum: The Postal Museum, London

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

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About Kids in Museums

Kids in Museums are a charity dedicated to making museums open and welcoming to all children, young people and families. They support and champion family-friendly organisations through wide-ranging initiatives, including the Family Friendly Museum Award and Takeover Day.

Created in 2004, the award champions museums that place families’ voices at the heart of their organisations. Previous winners of the Family Friendly Museum Award include Leeds City Museum, People’s History Museum in Manchester and the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London.

Find out more about Kids in Museums.

Bailiffgate Museum Gallery Kids in Museums 4

About Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery

Bailiffgate is an award-winning, independent local museum on three floors in the Castle Quarter of Alnwick and includes a temporary exhibitions space.

Established in 2002 in a Grade 2 listed former church, Bailiffgate is a hub for community activity. It hosts permanent groups such as two local History Societies, creative writing groups and choirs, and one-off community events.

Bailiffgate hosts and visits local schools, care homes, youth groups and other organisations providing talks and activities, including loans/memory boxes. A monthly Museum Tots group and school holiday family activities are regular events.

Find out more about Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery’s educational offering.

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