COVENTRY.- The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
has had the honour of being officially named the Best Family Friendly Museum in the Whole of Britain in the prestigious Guardian Family Friendly Museum award run by Kids in Museums*. The national award rewards museums that offer the very best family friendly environments, events, collection displays, accessibility and fun for children of all ages and their carers to enjoy and engage with culture.
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry beat off stiff competition from 100's of other nominated museums across Britain to scoop the top prize.
Since its re-opening in October 2008, the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum has strived to create an environment where the entire family have been welcomed. Through FREE events, exhibitions, learning resources, FREE on-line activities and facilitator-led activities, the museum has welcomed over 500,000 visitors through its doors including thousands of children in family groups.
Melanie Corner, Family Learning Officer said "It is fantastic that the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum has been recognised and listed for this award. All teams at the Herbert have worked really hard to make the museum as family friendly as possible. A lot of work goes into creating and delivering our successful and FREE family activities, events and exhibitions programme to ensure that families have a great visit and come back".
During the £20 million redevelopment, the permanent galleries were designed so that interactive and hands-on displays mean that families can touch, play and learn about the objects on display. The Elements gallery in particular encourages engagement through a multi-sensory experience
Chief Executive, Ludo Keston commented "It is a tremendous honour to officially be named as the best family friendly museum in the country. This award goes some way towards paying off the huge investment made by the city council and other key stakeholders when we completed our redevelopment 18 months ago. Part of remit for the re-development was to create a warm and engaging environment for every visitor, including children and their families, to enjoy. We've seen the visitor figures grow exponentially over the past year because of our total commitment to making the museum family-friendly and ensuring families are aware of our offer through new communications methods. Winning the Guardian Family Friendly Museum award is also a fitting reward to the tireless work of our staff over the last 18 months which we will be living up to for a long-while yet".
Family friendly exhibitions are programmed throughout the year and as part of these we provide self-guided trails and additional resources that enable parents and children to work together. In addition, our varied and exciting programme of FREE family events and activities encourage repeat visits, as each time they will be able to experience a new opportunity.
Kids in Museums founder Dea Birkett said "In a particularly tough year, with more very high quality nominations than ever before for the Family Friendly Award, the Herbert was picked out as making that extra special effort for families. Their work with very young children is particularly impressive. They demonstrated that they listened to young voices, who said they found the galleries amazing, fabulous and a great time. The kids thought the whole place was for them, said one parent. And the best thing was that they said theyd really like to go back".
The Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award is the only award to be judged by families and celebrates a museum's achievements in creating a family friendly environment. This year, hundreds of nominations were received; these were then whittled down to a long-list of 20 including the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. Short listed museums will then be visited by families who judge how the organisation meets the 20-point Kids in Museums manifesto, to which the Herbert is already signed up to. Past winning museums have included Sheffield's Weston Park Museum, and the Pitt Rivers Museum and Oxford Museum of Natural History who were joint winners in 2005.