Museums in Leeds have scooped a top international award for an innovative project to bring history to life in classrooms across the city.
A panel of experts from leading museums around Europe named Leeds Museums and Galleries the joint winner of the Children in Museums Award for the Leeds Curriculum.
Developed in partnership with more than 40 arts and culture organisations and 30 primary schools in Leeds, the project aims to pool the knowledge of learning and arts professionals in the city in an online resource.
Teachers from across Leeds can access a trove of information covering everything from prehistoric Leeds to the stories behind the city’s top sports teams and life in Leeds today.
Using key objects from the 1.3million items in the Leeds Museums and Galleries collection, the creative resources aim to support learning professionals with their own syllabuses.
Leeds was up against other museums from 13 different countries and shares the award with Creaviva Children’s Museum, Bern.
As well as a cash prize of 2,500 Euros, the museums service will host a bronze statue of Miffy, the world-famous children’s character created by Dick Bruna for the next six months. The sculptor is Marc Bruna, Dick Bruna’s younger son.
Kate Fellows, Leeds Museums and Galleries head of learning and access, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled and honoured to be presented with this prestigious award and to be recognised in a field which includes so many fantastic museums around the world.
“Working in partnership with our fantastic learning professionals, museums can play such a pivotal role in engaging and educating young people and hopefully inspiring a lifelong love of culture, history and heritage.
“I’m immensely proud of the work our team has done to make the Leeds Curriculum such an accessible, comprehensive and exciting learning resource and to see this unique project go from strength to strength.”
The Children in Museum Award was established in 2011 by the European Museum Academy and Hands On! International Association of Children in Museums to enhance the recognition of excellence in the specific sector of international children’s museums.
Awards judges praised the Leeds Curriculum, saying “This project is exceptional in terms of its potential to have a long-term impact on the children of Leeds and the scale of engagement across the city’s cultural organisations.”
Leeds Museums and Galleries has won a number of top industry awards in recent years.
In 2021 the innovative Closing the COVID Gap project won a prestigious Museums and Heritage Award for learning. The previous year, Careers for All, also run by Leeds Museums and Galleries was named Museums and Heritage Award Learning Programme of the Year 2020. In 2019, The Leeds Curriculum learning resource also won Educational Initiative of the Year.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Our museums service has been an integral part of learning in Leeds for many years now and over the past few years in particular, has proved an absolutely invaluable resource for teachers and learning professionals.
“I’d like to say a huge congratulations to the service for winning yet another top award and to thank them for their exceptional and inspiring efforts.”
Leigh-Anne Stradeski, Chair of the Children In Museums Award panel and Chief Executive of Eureka! the National Children’s Museum in Halifax, said: “It is only the second time since its inception that two museums have shared the Miffy award, and this attests to the exceptional nature of both the Leeds Curriculum project and Creaviva’s Children Curate Klee project.”