Jun 18, 2019

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.
Category: 2019
Posted by: Sarah
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 present at 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 @kidsinmuseums and #FamilyFriendlyMuseum.

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

Monday to Friday
10:00 to 13:00 & 14:00 to 17:00

10:00 to 16:00 


The Museum will be closed from Monday 23rd December and re-open on Saturday 4th January

This half-term, WALLY, the world’s favourite children’s book character – wearing a red-and-white striped shirt and black-rimmed specs – will be travelling the country, appearing in museums, including a visit to the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, and the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge. Families will be able to join the search for Wally as part of Where’s Wally? The Big Museum Hunt, organised by Walker Books and Kids in Museums, to celebrate the release of the new book, Where’s Wally? Double Trouble at the Museum.

My name is Andrew Simpson and I am a gallery volunteer at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and a recent MGeol graduate in Geology with Paleobiology from the University of Leicester. My main interest is in vertebrate palaeontology, however, I like writing about all facets of palaeontology, from evolutionary history to fossil lagerstätten.

This week we reached a major landmark in the development of the Museum’s new Collections Research Centre. We’ve just been handed the keys to the brand new Colin Forbes Building, a purpose-built collections store to house our internationally important rock and fossil collections.  We now start the ambitious task of moving our rock collection – weighing more than 150 tonnes – from a variety of locations across Cambridge.  Bringing our collections together, and creating a space where we can welcome research visitors enables us to take a big step towards our aim of creating a world-leading centre for Earth Sciences collections research.

Sedgwick Museum Collections Store

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Support this project

If you would like to discuss how you might contribute to the Sedgwick Museum Collections Store, please contact Professor Simon Redfern, Head of Department.

To make a donation to the Sedgwick Museum Collections Store please visit our online giving page.


'Tools of the Trade'
Available to purchase in the Sedgwick Museum shop

Tools of the Trade

Agostino Scilla's
'Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense'
English translation available to download.

Agostino Scilla download

Studying Earth Sciences at Cambridge University

Did you know?
The University of Cambridge is listed at the top of The Complete University's Guide 2016 for geology.

Discover more about studying Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge in this video featuring Museum Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology Professor Marian Holness and Sir David Attenborough