This week on the blog we find out how museums and galleries are using Arts Award with families. The winner of Kids in Museum’s Family Friendly Museum Award will be announced on 10 October and we were delighted to find that seven of the eight English museums deliver Arts Award (and the eighth is planning to!).
Kids in Museums helps museums welcome and include families, teenagers and children, and recognises those that have put children and young people at the heart of their museums.
Families, children and sector professionals nominate the museums and this year’s shortlist of 10 museums in England and Wales was announced in July. Over the summer around 40 ‘secret shopper’ families visited the shortlisted museums to find out how family and child friendly they are, using the Kids in Museums manifesto as a guide.
We asked the nominated museums about their work with families and how they deliver Arts Award and here are a few of the responses:
York Art Gallery has delivered a summer family project for the past three years in partnership with York Minster, York Theatre Royal and York Explore Libraries. Families take part in a range of arts activities offered by the partners (free and paid for) and learn about artists and craftspeople and their work, collecting stickers and stamps along the way. At the end of the summer there was a sharing event where families came along to show what they’d done over the summer, with advisers on hand to assess their arts logs.
Adviser Gaby Lees says, ‘It is a really simple and effective way to build Arts Award into our ongoing practice. Working as partners we reach a far wider area of the city and children are able to access a wider variety of art forms and activities.’
The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex has been doing Arts Award for a couple of years and this summer they offered an Explorer Activity Week that anyone could sign up to and take part in a week of fun creative activities. The museum has demonstrations of traditional crafts including spinning, weaving and stone masonry, as well as inspiring architecture and historic buildings – all of which add up to a fascinating range of options for Arts Award.
The National Glass Centre in Sunderland is developing a ‘Discover in a Day’ where home schooling families can explore the exciting world of glass, making glass art and finding out about artists who work with glass. They have delivered innovative Explore, Bronze and Silver projects. This summer young people made music with found objects and used glass and digital samples to create their own compositions.
Adviser Lily Clifford says, ‘Building Arts Award into how we can work with schools, families and communities has meant we can really make a visit to the National Glass Centre worth it; you don’t just make something, you challenge yourself when you complete an Arts Award.’
The Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne have just run a series of artist-led workshops for families that included the option to do Arts Award Discover or Explore. Always looking to encourage children and young people doing Arts Award, in October the gallery launches Arts Award Extra on the first Saturday of every month, where there will be free art materials, gallery resources and adviser support.
We wish all the nominees good luck and are looking forward to celebrating the winner!