As one of the culminating elements of the initial Family Friendly project with museums and galleries, a conference explored experiences and insights to date and latest thinking. This included a framework for family learning, interpretation and activities for families, developing family friendly resources, cross-team working between educationalists, marketers and curators, and evaluating family resources and visitor involvement. A set of 5 key principles were defined, focusing on experience, social and physical interaction, provision across age bands and commitment to families.
The importance of a family friendly culture cannot be underestimated. ‘Child friendly’ and ‘family friendly’ are very different and this distinction should be borne in mind. The needs of the family need to be identified. Resources such as pamphlets should identify a reading age to aim at. Facilities need to be brought in line with the family and for example entry tickets should have categories for children and the elderly or family groups.
Shops and catering should not be overlooked; there should be provision to suit family tastes and varying age groups. Displays and artefacts, such as shop souvenirs, are another area which prove integral to a successful visit for the family and could also generate income.