The Museum of the Order of St John: Shortlisted for the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2024

Museum of the Order of St John Amie Hampsheir-Gill, Learning and Engagement Assistant

Families making crafts and the Kids in Museums shortlisting logo.

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that the Museum of the Order of St John has been shortlisted for the prestigious Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award 2024. This honour, recognised as the UK’s foremost accolade for family-friendly heritage sites, has been celebrated annually since 2004. Unique in its approach, this award is the only one in the museum sector judged entirely by families, making it a true reflection of visitor satisfaction and engagement.

A Testament to Family Engagement

The journey to the shortlist began in late March and continued through early June, with families across the UK nominating their favourite heritage attractions on the Kids in Museums website. From over 550 of these nominations and 116 nominated museums and heritage sites, a panel of museum experts selected 19 heritage attractions to form the final shortlist and, as a result, the Museum of the Order of St John is now competing against four other museums in the Small Museum category!

Susie Batchelor, Head of Collections and Public Engagement for the Museum of the Order of St John, expressed her excitement:

“We are absolutely thrilled to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award, which means so much not only to us, but our community partners and volunteers who work hard for every session. We aim to make the Museum as welcoming and accessible as we can for families; we are just delighted our families have enjoyed their time with us as much as we have with them!”

Cadets: The Heart of Our Family Activities

What truly sets the Museum of the Order of St John apart is the involvement of St John Ambulance Cadets in supporting and co-delivering activities. As a new initiative launched in February 2024, these dedicated young volunteers, aged 10-17, have quickly become integral to our vibrant free family drop-in activities. You can find our enthusiastic young people co-delivering these events most Wednesdays during the Summer holidays, when families can enjoy sessions from medieval soap making to casualty makeup. Their participation not only enriches the experience but also demonstrates the invaluable contributions of youth in community engagement and education.

Free and Accessible for All

Open to the public from Wednesday to Saturday, the Museum of the Order of St John is a cultural hub not just for the local community but also for St John Ambulance volunteers nationwide. The dedicated team of staff and volunteers, alongside the Cadets, runs a variety of accessible programs, including free family activities, school workshops, gardening clubs, talks and teas, tours, and art for wellness sessions.

The Road to the Award

During the summer holidays, the Museum will be visited by undercover family judges who will assess the shortlisted museums based on the Kids in Museums Manifesto—a set of guidelines outlining what makes a great museum visit for all ages. Their experiences will determine the winners for each category and the overall Family Friendly Museum Award 2024 winner, to be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

We invite you to follow the Family Friendly Museum Award journey on social media by following @kidsinmuseums and @museumstjohn and using the hashtag #FamilyFriendlyMuseum. Join us in celebrating this remarkable achievement and supporting the Museum of the Order of St John as we strive to create enriching, memorable experiences for all our visitors.