Jun 18, 2019

Two Cambridge museums shortlisted for national Family Friendly Museum Award

Two of the University of Cambridge’s museums, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and Museum of Zoology have been shortlisted for the prestigious Family Friendly Museum Award, it was announced today.
Category: General
Posted by: Sarah
Charity Kids in Museums awards the prize 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. It is the only museum award to be judged by families.

Throughout April and May, families across the country voted for their favourite heritage attraction on the Kids in Museums website. A panel of museum experts then whittled down over 800 nominations to a shortlist.

Liz Hide, Director of the Sedgwick Museum said: “I'm absolutely delighted that Cambridge's own 'Dinosaur Museum' has been shortlisted for Family Friendly Museum of the year. It is a fantastic acknowledgement of our efforts to create a warm welcome for all our visitors, especially families of all shapes and sizes, knowing that some might expect a university museum to be dry and intimidating. We look forward to welcoming many more families over the summer, and are always keen to hear visitors' suggestions for how we can keep improving.”

The Sedgwick Museum and Museum of Zoology, both of which offer free admission to visitors, are vying against four other museums in the Medium Museums Category, and against 15 other museums for the overall Family Friendly Museum Award.

Jack Ashby, Manager of the Museum of Zoology said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for this award. Before re-opening last year we consulted extensively with family groups, ensuring that we created a Museum which is welcoming and accessible with displays that are interesting and informative for all ages. Our events programme offers many family friendly events, such as our Zoology Live! festival this weekend. To be shortlisted is a great achievement and shows how hard our staff and volunteers work to ensure all visitors receive a warm welcome.”

There will be plenty of opportunity for families in the region to take part in the Museums’ events, with both present at the popular Big Weekend event in Cambridge (5 – 7 July), and as part of the University of Cambridge Museums Summer at the Museums programme, which offers over 140 low-cost or free events for families during the school summer holidays.

Emmajane Avery, Chair of Kids in Museums, said: “It’s great to see two Cambridge museums in our Family Friendly Museum Award shortlist – it was impossible to pick just one! To make it to the shortlist in our most competitive year yet is a fantastic achievement and a testament to the hard work staff at the University of Cambridge have put in to create an enjoyable experience for families. We were pleased to see both museums doing work to engage families from outside the city, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit.

“We felt Sedgwick Museum did a brilliant job of making its subject matter accessible to children and providing activities for all ages, even collaborating with a local teenage fossil collector.

“Families have clearly been a focus for the Museum of Zoology’s redevelopment and they are obviously delighted with the results. We received a lot of positive family feedback, particularly about the popular Zoology Clubs.

“We wish both museums the best of luck in the next stage of the competition.”


The museums will now be visited by undercover family judges who will assess the museums against the Kids in Museums Manifesto. Their experiences will decide a winner for each award category and an overall winner, our Family Friendly Museum of the Year 2019.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London in October.

Follow the Family Friendly Museum Award on Twitter by following @kidsinmuseums and #FamilyFriendlyMuseum.

The Family Friendly Museum Award has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England and is kindly supported by Edwardian Hotels London.

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This summer, young visitors to some of our UCM museums have the opportunity to participate in an exciting artist-led treasure hunt. Hidden Tales: the Riddle of the White Sphinx, created by Mark Wells and Sorrel May, and illustrated by Jennifer Bell encourages families to explore our museums in a different way... Author Mark Wells tells all here.

Fifty years ago, Cambridge mineralogist, Dr Stuart Agrell was given VIP treatment and a police escort after flying into Heathrow from the USA because he was carrying a bag full of very precious rock material. The samples were amongst the most expensive ever collected as they had been retrieved from the moon by two of the American Apollo 11 mission astronauts. The programme of their investigation was a remarkable and unprecedented example of international scientific collaboration, which still continues.

Stuart Agrell on the underground with a carpet bag of rocks from the Apollo 11 missionGuess what I’ve got in my bag? 50 years ago, Cambridge mineralogist, Stuart Agrell nonchalantly carried some of the most valuable rocks ever collected back to Cambridge in his holdall. (© Mirrorpix, reproduced with permission)