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

The Children in Museums Award

Winner Announced: Children in Museums Award 2021

Dutch Open Air Museum, Arnhem, The Netherlands

At a virtual ceremony which took place on the evening of Friday 12 November at the 13th Hands On! Conference hosted by the FRida & FreD Children’s Museum in Graz and the ZOOM Children’s Museum in Vienna, the results of the 2021 Children in Museums Award were announced. 34 museums took part in the competition from 16 countries, with a shortlist of 12 finalists.

The judges said: ‘The Dutch Open Air Museum’s Restart programme was devised in wide consultation with immigrants and teachers and offers authentic learning material illustrating migrants’ lives in our society. They praised the very imaginative use of the museum’s open-air space and buildings by treating it as an entire country. Children are encouraged to think for themselves, facilitators challenging responses and encouraging them to develop empathy with the situation of migrants.’

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 Netherlands

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.

Closed since 13 November 2021
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