Craven Museum, situated within Skipton Town Hall in North Yorkshire, has been acclaimed as a shining model for other cultural venues, securing the title of the UK’s best family-friendly museum.
In a ceremony held in London today, October 19, Craven Museum, managed by the Kids in Museums charity, was honoured with the Family Friendly Museum Award 2023 for heritage sites.
This prestigious national award is presented annually to one museum, gallery, or heritage site in the UK that excels in offering an exceptional visitor experience for families. After public nominations, Craven Museum made it to the shortlist in the Best Accessible Museum category, ultimately clinching both the category award and the overall Family Friendly Museum Award 2023.
The family judges who explored Craven Museum were impressed by the welcoming staff and the accessibility of interactive features, including colour-coded family activities, dressing up, sensory boxes, interactive screens, and age-specific family trails. They also highlighted the museum’s action-packed and affordable events programme, featuring daily family events during the school summer holidays.
Cllr Simon Myers, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for culture and arts, expressed immense pride in the achievements of the Skipton Town Hall team, attributing their success to collaborative efforts with valued partners like Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Historic England. He hopes this recognition marks the start of a lifelong journey of creativity and learning for all young people.
Danielle Daglan, North Yorkshire Council’s head of culture and archives, commended the museum’s staff for receiving the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2023. She emphasized the team’s dedication to creating welcoming spaces for families to connect with the region’s rich cultural heritage and underscored their commitment to providing meaningful experiences for all visitors.
Daglan also acknowledged the pivotal role played by the Kids in Museums Manifesto and resources in enhancing their services to families, highlighting their appreciation for the support, collaboration, and shared learning within the sector.
Skipton Town Hall, which encompasses Craven Museum, the Exhibition Gallery, Concert Hall, and Visitor Information Centre, underwent a £4.7 million redevelopment, reopening in June 2021. The project was focused on enhancing accessibility, resulting in a wheelchair-accessible building equipped with lifts, a Changing Places toilet, dementia-friendly signage, and audio-visual aids for museum displays. The staff at the museum have undergone autism awareness training and offer sensory bags as well as monthly relaxed sessions for autistic visitors.
The Family Friendly Museum Award was made possible through funding from Arts Council England.
Alison Bowyer, the executive director of Kids in Museums, offered hearty congratulations to the Craven Museum team, recognizing their outstanding efforts in creating a safe, welcoming, and enjoyable space for all families. She praised the museum’s exemplary status within the UK museum sector, underscoring what can be achieved through the dedication of a small yet ambitious team. Bowyer extended the hope that families from Yorkshire and beyond would relish their visit during the October half term.