When the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery won the Family Friendly Museum Award last year, it would have gone some way to justifying the multimillion pound investment in the shiny Coventry cultural centre.
The Nottinghamshire town of Mansfield is within daytripping distance of the Herbert, but the town’s museum – which has just been announced as the latest recipient of the award – could hardly be more of a departure from the previous winner.
Funded by the town council, its current displays feature the history of greeting cards and camping, stretching resources to provide an enriching experience for as broad a cross-section of the local community as it can engage.
A Growing Bolder programme is specially designed for the over-55s, and ArtBeat provides holiday workshops for children of all ages. Cub troops, reminiscence groups, surrounding art societies and archaeological associations are all welcomed.
“It is an incredible achievement,” says Councillor Kate Allsop, the Portfolio Holder for Regeneration at Mansfield District Council.
“It’s in no small way down to the brilliant employees who make a visit there so welcoming and entertaining for people of all ages. The council is hugely proud of the museum, and all the recognition it receives is richly deserved.”
Award organisers Kids in Museums are championing their newest victor as a beacon for smaller venues, having seen off the likes of Leeds City Museum, Manchester Art Gallery and Think Tank Birmingham Science Centre from around 100 nominees.
It beat the Corinium Museum in Cirencester, The Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent, London’s Horniman Museum, the Kilmartin House Museum in Argyll and Abbey House Museum in Leeds, who were all consoled with runner-up prizes.