Why We Love Kids in Museums!

Recently we found this little note stuck into the corner of the board where we proudly display our copy of the Kids in Museums manifesto. Left anonymously, we had no idea which of our visitors that day had wanted to know more.

It is a valid question; why do we display the Kids in Museums manifesto? There isn’t any real need to, anyone who is interested can easily look it up on their website and there are many who don’t know what KiM stand for, or why any museum should be a part of it.

So what is KiM? Back in 2003, when a journalist took her children along to the Royal Academy in London, her two year old shouted ‘Monster!’ at the Eagle Man statue and the entire family was asked to leave. When her experience appeared in an article, she began to receive hundreds of letters from families fed up with being made to feel unwelcome in museums and galleries, and the seeds of this wonderful little charity were sown.

Eleven years on, hundreds of museums, big and small, now voluntarily sign up to the Kids in Museums manifesto every year, renewing their commitment to making families and children welcome. There are the KiM Family Friendly Museum awards that recognise the work museums do to make their spaces. The manifesto is created entirely from comments made by visitors, so this isn’t created in a sterile meeting room by a bunch of professionals, it has the immediacy of something created by people who actually know what its like to take an eight year old through to a museum.

And as for the Almonry, why is the manifesto important to us? Because it makes us rethink how we approach everything; from how we display items, to the way we greet people at the door, children and adults. From how we create our activity packs, designing them to encourage and spark conversations and discovery between the generations, to keeping our entry prices low (with free admission for under 11s) so families can visit without running into great expense. It forms and informs our thinking, and has been instrumental in the development of our Great Big Almonry Project.

And why do we display it? Because by displaying it, we reaffirm our commitment visually to visitors of all ages. By displaying it, we are reminded every day that we could do better. And so we keep trying.

For more information, please visit the Kids in Museums website; the winner of this years Family Friendly Award is the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall, their website is here. If you would like to comment on how the Almonry is shaping up to the manifesto, you can visit our website and fill in the contact form there. And if you would like to be a member of our Teens in Museums panel (aged 14-18), please contact the office direct.