Best Small Museum Winner!
Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, has won Best Small Museum in the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2023, it was announced at an awards ceremony in London on Thursday (19 October 2023).
Run by charity Kids in Museums, the national award celebrates museums, galleries, historic homes or heritage sites in the UK that go the extra mile to provide a great experience for families.
Since it launched in 2004, the award has become a benchmark for 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 four other museums in the Best Small Museum category, Royal Cornwall Museum clinched the win with family judges praising the helpful staff and relaxed atmosphere. Between free children’s entry and adults’ tickets converting into an annual pass, judges felt visiting was good value for money. They also loved how the local area was being supported and represented with the museum being involved in Pride, displaying young people’s work, and engaging with the problem of plastic pollution on beaches.
The museum’s summer exhibition, Adrift: Lost at Sea, was extremely popular – telling the story of how a rogue wave knocked 62 containers from a cargo ship off the coast of Cornwall, releasing five million pieces of Lego into the ocean.
One family judge said: “We loved the museum. The exhibitions were great and varied. We felt very comfortable, and the staff were really approachable and helpful. We did a hands-on activity about plastic use and in discussion with the staff all found things that made us go ‘wow’.”
Another said: “[A] highlight for my children was the hugely interactive nature section downstairs, the sensory and discovery rucksacks fascinated them, and they loved the Ancient Egyptian section which includes a mummy.”
Through their sensory packs, accessibility, friendly staff, school visits, and holiday activity programmes, the museum has created a family-friendly environment that is welcoming to all.
Artistic Director, Byrony Robins, and Learning Manager, Kate Clayton, received the award in person, having been instrumental in constructing the museum’s family friendly programme.
Bryony said, “this award honours the whole team of volunteers and staff in their efforts towards making the museum welcoming, inclusive and engaging for our communities. Thank you so much to our visitors, Kids in Museums, and Arts Council England for supporting us.”
Kate added, “It was an honour to be nominated and an even bigger honour to win! Kids in Museums do such fantastic work, highlighting what families need in our spaces. Our team have all worked really hard to put together a programme that is fun and welcoming and it’s amazing to hear that families feel relaxed and happy when they visit us”
Announced in London on Thursday, the winning museums in the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2023:
- Best Accessible Museum + Overall Winner: Craven Museum, Skipton
- Best Small Museum: Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
- Best Medium Museum: The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury
- Best Large Museum: Museum of Liverpool
- Best Youth Project – Climate: Tullie, Carlisle