The Experience Barnsley Museums in Barnsley has won Best Accessible Museum in the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2022, it was announced at an awards ceremony in London.
Run by charity Kids in Museums, the national award is awarded 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.
Since it launched in 2004, the 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 winners.
Competing against two other museums in the Best Accessible Museum category, the museum clinched the win with family judges reporting they felt comfortable and enjoyed lots of hands-on interaction. They rated the Makaton signage, sensory backpacks, accessible and Changing Places toilets, sensory toys in the shop and the inclusive range of books available in the galleries.
The Best Accessible Museum category recognises an exemplary commitment to accessibility and was judged by families with children or young people who have special educational needs, disabilities and access needs. Shortlisted museums will also be given feedback on how they can further improve their offer for families.
One family judge said: “The museum was jam-packed with interactive activities which was fantastic… The sensory bag and disabled toilets are exceptional. Staff are lovely, and they go beyond to help.”
Councillor Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “We are delighted to have won this award. The team have worked closely with families and groups around the subject of access, and together explored options and implemented changes that has improved the visitor experience not only physically at the museums but also digitally. The award is recognition of all the hard work that has been done.”
Announced in London the winning museums in the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2022:
Winner: Best Small Museum + Overall Winner
National Emergency Services Museum, Sheffield
Winner: Best Medium Museum
Museum of Making, Derby
Winner: Best Large Museum
National Maritime Museum, London
Winner: Best Accessible Museum
Winner: Best Family Engagement Team
PK Porthcurno, Penzance in Cornwall