Museum of Liverpool shortlisted for national award

Much-loved waterfront museum in running for Family Friendly award.

The popular attraction is vying for a win against two London-based museums, Horniman Museum and Gardens and National Maritime Museum in the Best Large Museum category.

Kate Johnson, Head of Museum of Liverpool said: ‘Welcoming families and making their visit as fun as possible is so important to us that it was built into the original design of the museum, which opened in 2011. From a dedicated children’s gallery and displays at child’s eye level, to changing rooms and space for buggies, being a welcoming, accommodating and enjoyable place for all our visitors is crucial to us.

“A Kids in Museums’ Family Friendly Award is a particularly special recognition because families are such an important voice on the jury, so we’re proud to even make the shortlist. It’s also exciting to make this announcement so close to the summer holidays, when we have lots planned for visitors. We’ll be exploring our archaeology collection with fascinating family activities, learning more about a Liverpool icon, Kitty Wilkinson with interactive performances, and our popular Little Liverpool gallery has some brand-new sessions for our youngest visitors, making it the perfect time to visit and discover why we were shortlisted.”

The Museum of Liverpool’s appeal to families has been recognised previously, shortlisted in both 2016 and 2019, going on to win its category 2019.

Lucy Bowyer, family blogger (@pinaforesandpeonies) said:

“Our visit to the Museum of Liverpool’s dedicated children’s gallery, Little Liverpool, was my eldest son’s first museum experience, at only five months old. There was so much to look at and he was enthralled throughout! It was lovely to watch his eyes widen at every new experience. The gallery makes a brilliant stepping-stone for families to explore the rest of the museum. I know as my boys grow up we will continue to cherish our trips to Museum of Liverpool.”

Jenny Mullin, family blogger (@mummyandsonwholovetoexplore) said:

“My son, Jacob, and I always love visiting the Museum of Liverpool. It’s a full day out for all the family, with so much to explore in a fun way. Most importantly it’s free which means everyone can enjoy it.

“The staff are always friendly and happy to answer any questions. Recently we attended the Kitty Wilkinson performance after Jacob had learnt about her over Covid. There was a mixture of ages, and everyone got involved. Jacob also loves the Wondrous Place gallery, and we can spend hours in there!”

Jacob (aged 9) added:

“I love watching the programme about match days. I also like to play the horse game with my mum in the Wondrous Place gallery.”

Charity, Kids in Museums has run a prestigious annual award since 2004, recognising the most family friendly heritage sites in the UK. It is the only museum award to be judged by families.

From late March to early June, families across the UK voted for their favourite heritage attraction on the Kids in Museums website. A panel of museum experts then whittled down hundreds of nominations to a shortlist of 18 heritage attractions.

Over the summer holidays, the museum will be visited by undercover family judges who will assess the shortlisted museums against the Kids in Museums Manifesto, a set of guidelines on what makes a great museum visit for all ages. Their experiences will decide a winner for each award category and an overall winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2023. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

From July Museum of Liverpool will be launching its summer holiday programme with activities inspired by the Festival of Archaeology. Embracing their inner Indiana Jones families can get up close and hold objects from the museum’s archaeology collection or learn the skills required to be an expert archaeologist in fun activities. More info about the Festival of Archaeology here.

Little Liverpool Specials are new sessions with many of the same elements that have made the children’s gallery such a hit, but with an extra focus for the museum’s youngest visitors with a passion for art, transport or the River Mersey. Find out more here.

Kids in Museums 

We are an award-winning charity dedicated to making museums open and welcoming to all children, young people and families. We support and champion family friendly organisations through wide-ranging initiatives, including the Family Friendly Museum Award and Takeover Day. We invite heritage organisations to sign up to our Manifesto, which sets out simple guidelines for making museums easy to reach for all ages. www.kidsinmuseums.org.uk

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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

The Family Friendly Museum Award has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England.

The full list of museums shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award 2023 is:

Best Large Museum 

  • Horniman Museum and Gardens, London
  • National Maritime Museum, London
  • Museum of Liverpool

Best Medium Museum 

  • The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury
  • Compton Verney, Warwickshire
  • Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • The MAC, Belfast

Best Small Museum 

  • Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea
  • National Civil War Centre, Newark
  • Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
  • Valence House, Dagenham
  • Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Best Accessible Museum 

  • Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens, Barnsley
  • Craven Museum/ Skipton Town Hall
  • Maidstone Museum

Best Youth Project – Climate 

This new category recognises innovative and thoughtful projects engaging young people on the topic of the climate emergency and sustainability. It was open to museum applications only and will be judged by an expert panel.

  • Falmouth Art Gallery – Splanna
  • London Transport Museum – Green Skills Hackathon
  • Tullie – Once Upon a Planet

About Arts Council England 

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. From 2023 to 2026 we will invest over £440 million of public money from Government and an estimated £93 million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.


All images © Gareth Jones