Fantastic for Families Award 2020 Case Study
Fantastic for Families Awards 2020 Winners
What does it mean to win a Fantastic for Families Award? What impact can it have for an organisation?
Katie Cassels, Families and Young People Manager at the National Maritime Museum, tells us about how winning ‘Best Family Venue’ in the 2020 awards has led to positive effects for both the museum and the family communities that they serve.
In 2020 the National Maritime Museum was voted Best Family Venue by Fantastic For Families. The award recognised the facilities and measures in place at the Museum that meet the needs of a wide range of families and considers the Museum’s work, as a whole, in welcoming families. In a year of multiple closures and re-openings, the award was well-timed to reinvigorate our family-friendly messaging both internally and externally.
Families are a core audience for the National Maritime Museum and never has the family-friendly emphasis been more important than it has in the last year. With Museums, galleries, schools and even playgrounds shut at points since the pandemic began in early 2020, opportunities for families to play, engage and learn together were whittled away. This has had huge impact on mental health, feelings of loneliness and opportunities for physical activity. Never have families needed the playful engagement that cultural organisations can provide more than they do now.
Winning the Best Family Venue award has helped the Museum to celebrate our family audience and to recommit to ensuring the best visit possible for all families. It has shown staff that we have a successful approach and that the facilities and engagement opportunities are family-friendly, targeted, and successful. As we re-opened, it focused us on taking forward the positives to our other sites at Royal Museums Greenwich. It reminds us to look for ways to be better too, and in May 2021 we opened a Changing Places toilet/bathroom, providing a new facility that allows better access and many more families to visit and engage with the Museum.
As restrictions remain in place on international travel, our audience has become hyper-local. Although always a local, as well as national, museum, we now need to focus on continuing to improve our relationship with our domestic audiences, providing an offer that encourages them to keep returning to us. Having the kudos of the ‘Best Family Venue’ award demonstrates our commitment to family learning and reinforces the message that families are welcome and will have plenty to do at the Museum, whenever they visit. We are questioning how we can become an even more family-friendly venue by building on play and child-led approaches across our programmes and even in our outdoor spaces for the first time.
We will continue to build on our family-friendly approach, this summer pledging to advocate for and provide opportunities as part of the #SummerofPlay.
– Katie Cassels, Families and Young People Manager at the National Maritime Museum
30 June 2021