The national museum of democracy, the People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester, has been shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award 2017; not only the biggest museum award in Britain, but also the only one where children and families pick the winners.

Liz Thorpe, Learning Officer for the People’s History Museum, says, “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for the prestigious Family Friendly Museum Award; our work with families and young people is central to the museum, and to know that it is thanks to their support that we have been selected is truly wonderful. We are also delighted to be in the company of so many other fine museums from around the country, who like us are share the vision of Kids in Museums.”

Janneke Geene, Acting Director for the People’s History Museum, says,

“It is our role to tell, share, collect and present inspiring stories about the fight for democracy and equality in Britain, and for our young visitors and their families we have in place a very innovative programme that explores different themes and engages directly with them about their experiences and their lives. Like all our visitors, we want them to come away with an informed perception of the world around them, encouraging them to shape a future where ideas of democracy, equality, and justice are thriving, where they are empowered to actively play their part.”

Since the opening of the current exhibition, Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT+ Rights in February 2017, PHM has had an incredibly positive response to the family friendly programme that it has put in place to support this groundbreaking exhibition. The exhibition reveals the challenges faced by LGBT+ communities in the quest for equality, alongside which families have been invited to explore identity, uniqueness, community spirit, creative expression and much more. There are family friendly events timetabled throughout the upcoming summer holidays.

Dr Dea Birkett, Creative Director, Kids in Museums, says, ‘’Congratulations to the People’s History Museum for reaching the shortlist of the Family Friendly Museum Award. It’s a great achievement in a really competitive year, with over 700 nominations. It was clear at shortlisting that the People’s History Museum reflected the community and actively engaged families with difficult topics. They showed how they have collaborated with local groups to co-curate exhibitions and develop a family offer to welcome families of all shapes and sizes.”

The shortlist also features The Cardiff Story Museum, 
Dylan Thomas Centre (Swansea), 
Great North Museum: Hancock (Newcastle upon Tyne), 
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum (Coventry), 
Jewish Museum (London), 
Rainham Hall (Greater London), 
River & Rowing Museum (Henley-on-Thames), Tudor House (Worcester)
, Vale and Downland Museum (Oxfordshire). The winner will be announced in early October.

PHM is open seven days a week, offering an active programme of family friendly activities and events, including story sessions, artist-led workshops, Living History performances, Busy Bee explorer packs to help 3-6 year olds discover the museum, hands-on exhibits in every gallery, and family friendly trails. The family friendly experience extends to The Left Bank cafe bar, which will be serving a new dedicated kids menu this summer. The museum is a buggy-friendly site, welcomes breastfeeding, has baby-changing facilities – and even offers a free emergency nappy if visitors get caught short!

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