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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.

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 taking part in 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  


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


The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences is one of the oldest geological collections in the world, and is now home to more than 1.5 million fossils, rocks and minerals, including Iggy, the iconic Iguanodon skeleton.  A walk through the museum is a journey through more than 4 million years of geological time, where you can see meteorites, dinosaurs, a piece of rock from the top of Mount Everest, an Ice Age hippo from Cambridgeshire, ichthyosaurs found by Mary Anning, and the rocks collected by Charles Darwin on his voyage around the world.  The museum’s internationally important collections are used by researchers from around the world, and by students from Cambridge and beyond. 

The University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge is one of the largest and most significant natural history museums in the UK, with an extraordinarily rich history dating back to 1814. Today it houses over two million specimens. In June 2018 the Museum reopened after a five-year, £4.1million redevelopment – including nearly £2 million of funding raised by National Lottery players – to reveal thousands of incredible specimens from across the animal kingdom. Zoology is the study of animals, and the Museum’s new exhibits explore stories of conservation, extinction, survival, evolution and discovery. The Museum has a lively programme of exhibitions and events.


University of Cambridge Museums is a consortium of the eight University Museums and the Botanic Garden. Its programmes are supported by Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation funding. The consortium includes: Fitzwilliam Museum, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Museum of Zoology, Museum of Classical Archaeology, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, The Polar Museum and Kettle’s Yard. The University's collections are a world-class resource for researchers, students and members of the public representing the country’s highest concentration of internationally important collections, all within walking distance of the City Centre.

About Kids in Museums
We are a 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.

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About the Family Friendly Museum Award

Kids in Museums began the Family Friendly Museum Award in 2004 and the prize is now in its fourteenth year. The award champions museums who place families’ voices at the heart of their organisations.

Previous winners of the Family Friendly Museum Award include Leeds City Museum (2018), the People’s History Museum in Manchester (2017), York Art Gallery (2016), Tullie House in Cumbria (2015), the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall (2014) and the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London (2013).

The full list of museums shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award 2019 is:

Large Museums Category

  • Museum of Liverpool
  • Riverside Museum, Glasgow
  • World Museum, Liverpool

Medium Museums Category

  • Bolton Museum & Art Gallery
  •  Great North Museum: Hancock
  • London Transport Museum
  • The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Cambridge
  • University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Small Museums Category

  • Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, Dunfermline
  • The Devil’s Porridge Museum, Eastriggs
  • Erewash Museum, Derbyshire
  • Hastings Museum & Art Gallery
  • Parc Howard Museum, Llanelli
  • Valence House Museum, Dagenham


For further press enquiries please contact

Richard White, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, University of Cambridge Museums on 01223 333003 or email