Skipton museum crowned the UK’s best for families

A museum in Skipton has been praised as a shining example for other venues after being crowned as the best in the country for families.

Craven Museum, in Skipton Town Hall, has won the best heritage site Family Friendly Museum Award 2023.

Run by the Kids in Museums charity, the national award is awarded to one museum, gallery or heritage site in the UK that provides a great visitor experience for families.

Eighteen heritage attractions from across the country made it to the shortlist. After public nominations, Craven Museum was shortlisted in the Best Accessible Museum category, going on to win the category and the overall Family Friendly Museum Award 2023.

A group at Craven Museum

The team at Craven Museum delighted with their prestigious national award.

The family judges who visited Craven Museum were impressed by the friendly staff and how easy it was for everyone to get hands on in the galleries with colour-coded family activities, dressing up, feely boxes, interactive screens and family trails tailored for different ages. They also noted that there is an action-packed and affordable events programme with a family event every day of the school summer holidays.

Our executive member for culture and arts, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “I take immense pride in the accomplishments of our fantastic team at Skipton Town Hall. These achievements are the result of our joint investment with valued partners like Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. We hope for this to mark the beginning of a lifelong journey of creativity and learning for all our young people."

The council’s head of culture and archives, Danielle Daglan, praised the work of the staff at the museum.

She said: “This recognition highlights our ongoing efforts to create welcoming spaces where families can discover and connect with our rich cultural heritage. We are deeply committed to providing meaningful experiences for all visitors, and this award serves as a heartening affirmation of our dedication to inclusivity.”

Children playing at Craven museum

There is an action-packed and affordable events programme with a family event every day of the school summer holidays.

Skipton Town Hall, which includes Craven Museum, the Exhibition Gallery, Concert Hall and Visitor Information Centre, reopened in June 2021 following a £4.7 million redevelopment, which had accessibility at its heart.

It is a wheelchair-accessible building with lifts, a Changing Places toilet, dementia-friendly signage and audio-visual aids for museum displays. Staff have completed autism awareness training and offer sensory bags and monthly relaxed sessions for autistic visitors.

The executive director of Kids in Museums, Alison Bowyer, said: “The museum is making an outstanding effort to be a safe, welcoming and fun place for all families. This is truly an exemplar for the UK museum sector and shows what can be achieved through the dedication of a small but ambitious team.”

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