Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, has been shortlisted for the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award From Home, it was announced today.

Kids in Museums has run a prestigious annual award for the past 15 years, recognising the most family-friendly heritage sites in the UK. This year, the charity asked families and museums to vote for what they thought was the best online activity for families during lockdown. A panel of museum experts whittled down over 400 nominations to a shortlist of 26 museums. 

Seven Stories, situated in the Ouseburn Valley in the East of Newcastle, has been recognised for its Something to Smile About campaign aimed at supporting children and families in the local community during this crisis.

Activity delivered as part of this campaign included the sharing of online storytimes, doorstep conversations and delivery of packs including books, craft materials and activity ideas directly to family homes that needed them the most. Seven Stories partnered with local family centres, schools and food projects, with support from local businesses, and food from Seven Stories café freezers was donated to a local Mutual Aid Group in Byker.

Stories for Life, developed with Barnardo’s Newcastle Community Family Hub East, used children’s books and imaginative play to support disadvantaged under 5s and their siblings in Byker and Walker. The project aims to improve early communication skills and emotional wellbeing as well as nurturing family relationships by spending quality time together, reading and having fun. Seven Stories has also been supporting new parents during lockdown, who are feeling much more isolated, online and through doorstep visits to deliver picturebooks and play activities.

Families from Byker Primary School took part in Seven Stories' new food-themed project, Story Kitchen. Along with fabulous food-themed children’s books, video storytimes and creative activities, Seven Stories has been delivering regular cook-along videos and recipe kits with help from friends at Food Nation.

The Museum’s Reader in Residence programme, which usually places a member of the Seven Stories team into a school every week for a full academic year, was moved online during lockdown. Amazing digital storytimes and creative activities were shared in school and to homes across all the year groups at Byker Primary School and St Lawrence Primary School.

Support from BBC Children in Need, Well Newcastle Gateshead and local trusts and businesses made these programmes possible.
John Coburn, Creative Director and acting joint Co-Chief Executive at Seven Stories said:
We’re thrilled to have been nominated by Kids in Museums for their Going the Extra Mile category. Keeping children happy, active and busy during this unsettling time is essential for their mental health. Throughout this crisis we have been working at the heart of our community with schools and partners in the voluntary sector to respond to the needs of our local community and use children’s book inspired activities to support families and improve the lives of children and young people in our neighbourhood. It's great to see that this important work has been acknowledged by Kids in Museums and we are keeping our fingers crossed for the winner being announced in October.

Seven Stories, the only museum from the North East of England to be short-listed for an award, is vying against four other museums in the Going the Extra Mile category.

Over the summer holidays, family judges will try out all the activities and their feedback will decide a winner and highly commended award for each category. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

Follow the Family Friendly Museum Award From Home on Twitter by following @kidsinmuseums and #FamilyFriendlyMuseum.

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

Notes to Editors

About Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books

Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, works with children’s books to create playful and profound experiences for children and young people, in order to fire their imagination and creativity, and deepen their understanding of themselves and the world.

Located in a converted warehouse in the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle upon Tyne, Seven Stories offers visitors seven floors of galleries, creative spaces, a specialist independent children’s bookshop and a café to explore.

Seven Stories has a superb collection of artwork, manuscripts and archives by British writers and illustrators for children, from the 1930s to the present day, including work by such figures as Enid Blyton, Judith Kerr, Nick Sharratt, Philip Pullman and David Almond.  

In 2020 Seven Stories, a registered charity, will be celebrating its 15th birthday.  

Seven Stories is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and an Accredited Museum.  


Twitter: @7stories


Instagram: @7stories

About Kids in Museums

We are a charity dedicated to making museums open and welcoming to all children, young people and families. We support and champion family friendly organisations through wide-ranging initiatives, including the Family Friendly Museum Award and Takeover Day. We invite heritage organisations to sign up to our Manifesto, which sets out simple guidelines for making museums easy to reach for all ages.

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

The full shortlist for the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award From Home is:

Best Film

    Cooper Gallery, Barnsley – Wow Wednesdays

    Florence Nightingale Museum, London – Meet Miss Nightingale  

    London Fire Brigade Museum – The Great Fire of London

    National Football Museum, Manchester - Kicking Off Your Creativity

    University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge - Zoology Live! Online Festival 

Best Social Media Activity

    Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft - Virtual Museum Club

    National Museums Liverpool - My Home is My Museum

    National Museums Wales - Minecraft Your Museum

    The Novium Museum, Chichester - Virtual Roman Week 2020

    Royal Academy, London - attRAct weekly challenges

Best Website Activity

    Historic Dockyard Chatham - Museum from Home: Arts Award Discover

    The Mary Rose, Portsmouth - Things to Make and Do!

    Museum of Cardiff - Lockdown Legion

    National Galleries Scotland - Home is Where the Art is

    National Videogame Museum, Sheffield - Create Your Own Pixel Art Character

Going the Extra Mile

    Colchester and Ipswich Museums - Museum From Home activity packs

    Dacorum Heritage - Stockpiling Stories

    National Science and Media Museum, Bradford - Distributing Printed Learning Resources to families in BD5

    Seven Stories, Newcastle - Something to smile about - supporting families in East Newcastle

    The Whitworth, Manchester – Still Parents

Best International Digital Activity

    Andy Warhol Museum, USA - Warhol Making It Videos

    Glazer Children’s Museum, USA - GCM@Home

    The Glucksman, Republic of Ireland - Creativity At Home

    The Museum of Childhood Ireland Project - Project 2020 Together, Le Chéile

    National Gallery Singapore - #SmallBigDreamersatHome

    Rijksmuseum, Netherlands - Key Challenge