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9 November 2021 - 12 November 2021
Hands On! Conference 2021: Hands On – into the future
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Open until 12 November 2021

The Children in Museums Award

Each year Hands On! rewards the most excellent children’s exhibition or project dedicated to children with the Children in Museums Award. The award was recently named one of Europe’s most prestigious museums awards by NEMO- The Network of European Museums Organisations.

Joint Venture

The Children in Museums Award is a joint venture between Hands On! and the European Museum Academy. The Award was launched during the Children’s Bookfair in Bologna, Italy in 2011. The award (then children’s museums award) was established in 2011 by the European Museum Academy and Hands On! International for the recognition of excellence in the specific sector of international children’s museums. In 2014 the name of the Award was changed to the Children in Museums Award, to reflect the wider range of provision for children in today’s museums. The European Museums Academy cooperates with Hands On! supplying judges and offering expertise as regards to content. The judges are on the look-out for creative and innovative exhibitions and programmes for the age group up to 14 years old.

Shortlisted Museums Children in Museums Award 2021

Our judges not only value creativity and innovation, but also consider the ways in which an exhibition or programme can change the course of museum thinking or museum practice.


Museum of Technology, Helsinki, Finland

EPIC – The Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin, Ireland

National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

NEMO Science Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tropenmuseum Junior, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Netherlands Open Air Museum, Arnhem, The Netherlands

Naturalis, Leiden, The Netherlands

Wereldmuseum Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Museon, The Hague, The


National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden

Nordiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

People’s History Museum, Manchester, United Kingdom


The judges will be looking for what is understood as ‘public quality’. In this specific case, the museum’s commitment to improving children’s experiences, growth, learning, well-being through the museum environment, atmosphere and programming.
Applications will be assessed against these criteria:


E.g. Showing new pathways to enlarge subject matters, new ideas for using collections in children’s programmes/, new ways of using technologies to interact with the content, new forms of actively engaging young visitors, etc.


E.g. Creating an overall environment and atmosphere which are conducive to learning, using interactivity to favour understanding, involving children in the conception and design, testing and evaluation of programmes and exhibitions, etc.


E.g. Showing evidence of programmes or initiatives that have a social impact and focus on inclusion and diversity, outreach activities, etc.


E.g. Having an informative website, learning printed and/or digital materials for schools, teachers, parents, etc.


E.g. Showing good management and well-trained and experienced staff.


The winner of our travelling Miffy trophy and a 5000€ cash prize sponsored by Mercis B.V. will be announced in the course of a festive ceremony as part of the 13th Hands On! Conference & 21st Century Children training sessions in November 2021. Nominees will be named honorary ambassadors of the 21st Century Children Project co-funded by the European Union, as they represent best practice examples of future-oriented museum spaces for children.



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