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

The museum, housed in Skipton Town Hall, and home to a rare Shakespeare First Folio, has won the best heritage site Family Friendly Museum Award 2023 at a ceremony in London earlier earlier today (Thursday).

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

A total of 18 heritage attractions from across the country made it to the shortlist for the award, spanning five categories. 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.

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.

Councillor Simon Myers, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for culture and arts and member for Mid Craven, 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."

North Yorkshire Council’s head of culture and archives, Danielle Daglan, praised the work of the staff at the museum.

She said: “The team at Skipton Town Hall and Craven Museum are truly honoured to receive the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2023.

“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.”

She added: “The Kids in Museums Manifesto and resources have been instrumental in enhancing our delivery to families and we wholeheartedly appreciate the support, collaboration and shared learning within the sector.”

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

The executive director of Kids in Museums, Alison Bowyer, said: “Huge congratulations to the team at Craven Museum.

“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.

“We hope families from across Yorkshire and beyond will enjoy visiting over the October half term.”