Children in Museums Award Winner 2019

KerImagiNation, Dakar, Senegal

(c) Stephanie Kösling
















On Thursday 24 October in the Emperor’s Hall during the Hands On! Conference in Frankfurt, Germany, which is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, the results of the 2019 Children in Museums Award were announced.  The entries were of an extremely high quality and a real testament to the growing maturity of a relatively new field for the museum profession. 
The judges were unanimous in their decision to make Ker ImagiNation the winner of the 2019 Children in Museums Award.  This is a children’s learning and educational hub, the first of its kind dedicated to creative learning in Senegal. As such it is ground-breaking among major cultural events and spaces, not only in Dakar, but for West Africa in general.
The winner receives a cash prize of 5,000 Euros and holds for one year a bronze statue of Miffy, the world-famous children’s character, created by Dick Bruna.



CMA 2019 Press Release

CMA 2019 Judges´ Report



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Shortlisted museums Children in Museums Award 2019


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.  Learn more about their outstanding programmes at the biennial Hands On! Conference 22-26 October 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany.



Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Canada
Den Gamle By, Aarhus, Denmark
M-Children, Venezia Mestre, Italy
Museo Universitario Arte contemporáneo (MUAC) , Mexico City, Mexico

Download Hands On! Conference Program 2019

The award ceremony and the 21st Century Children focus topic were



Petra Zwaka|Germany

Petra is a historian and museologist who, over the past 30 years has designed numerous exhibitions and projects on Berlin history, interdisciplinary research projects on the subject of diversity in museums education, outreach and educational programmes and (inter-) national conferences. She is the author of several books and articles on local history and museums education. Since 1991 she was the Director of two regional history museums and different memorial sites in the Berlin district Tempelhof-Schöneberg. In 2011 she was given the additional responsibility as the Head of Cultural Affairs in the district, including the municipal art galleries and programming. As an advocate for the benefits of exploring history with children and young people through methods of experiential and interactive learning strategies, she brought the Jugend Museum (Youth Museum) to life (1994), as an integral part of the regional Schöneberg Museum. One of her main research topics there is on intercultural dialogue and participation in museums as well as the question of how a museum for children and young people can become a socially responsible institution.


Veronica Sekules|United Kingdom

Veronikca is Director of GroundWork Gallery, a new space in King’s Lynn in Norfolk, specialising in contemporary art and environment. She was formerly Head of Education & Research and Deputy Director for the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, where she was responsible for developing and managing learning and research programmes, educational events and conferences, artists’ projects and residencies, outreach and training with students, schools, teachers and the public. She has worked extensively on international educational programmes and consultancies in many countries. She directed a Culture of the Countryside project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund from 2008-2011, about which she is now writing a book, and was one of the editors for World Art, a journal published from 2011 by Routledge. She trained as an art historian, has an MA in education and is an active educational researcher and writer specialising in the Middle Ages and 20th-century art, and is widely published in these areas.


Petra Katzenstein|The Netherlands

Petra started her career as a drama psychotherapist, working in hospitals and schools for children with special needs. Over 30 years ago she started as a tour guide at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam and was the initiator of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation’s award-winning Children’s Museum at the JHM. She worked on the development of the I ASK method, training and handbook, which helps museum staff to encourage visitors to open up to unfamiliar things. She is Vice-President of Hands On! and co-organised with the Rijksmuseum the 2015 Conference in Amsterdam.


Leigh-Anne Stradeski| United Kingdom

Leigh-Anne has been Chief Executive of Eureka! The National Children’s Museum for the past 15 years. Prior to that she was Executive Director of the London Regional Children’s Museum in London, Ontario for seven years and held senior level positions in communications, marketing and fundraising in the tertiary health care and higher education sectors. She holds an MPA from the University of Western Ontario and a BA from the University of Alberta. Leigh-Anne has held positions on boards and advisory committees in arts, culture and museums on both sides of the Atlantic. She is a board member of the Association of Science and Discovery Centres – UK, a member of the partnership board of Sheffield University’s Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, and an advisor to the Save Childhood movement. She is Past-President of Hands-On International and a past trustee of the Association of Children’s Museums. Leigh-Anne was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Leeds Beckett University in 2014 and an Inspiration Award from Calderdale Community College in 2010.


Susanne Gesser|Germany

Susanne has been the director of  the children’s museum (Junges Museum) of the Frankfurt historical museum for the past 21 years and has been with the museum as a curator since 1992. She has developed numerous exhibitions for and with children and is the project manager of the permanent exhibition Frankfurt Now!, the city laboratory and the family trails at the historical museum Frankfurt.  Susanne is also the current vice president of Hands On! and a founding member of the German Association of museum education and the German Association of children’s and youth museums. She frequently publishes and authors books, articles and papers about children’s museums and museum education. Additionally, she holds lectures and teaching assignments at the Universities of Frankfurt and Gießen.


Arno van Berge Henegouwen|The Netherlands

After his biology studies at Leiden University Arno’s first job was director and curator of the Natural History Museum in Tilburg. Later he became head of the Natural History Department of the educational museum of The Hague, Museon. Since 1990 he has written plans for several exhibitions, museums and visitor centres in Holland and Germany. Museonder, the first underground museum in the world developed for the National Park De Hoge Veluwe, was one of the highlights. It was followed by a new visitor centre in the same National Park. He initiated international exhibitions in The Hague such as the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. From 2001 he completed the new permanent exhibition in the Museon, Your World, My World which opened in 2006. As an author he has written several popular science books and children’s books on topics including marine biology, evolution and biodiversity. As a scientist he has published on aquatic insects and dung beetles. In his spare time he is an ardent nature photographer. He retired from his work in 2013 and is now a museum consultant.


Margherita Sani|Italy

Margherita has a degree in Literature and Philosophy (University of Bologna) and an MA in Museums and Galleries Administration (City University, London). She works in Italy at the Istituto Beni Culturali of the Region Emilia-Romagna, where she is in charge of international projects – in particular on museum education, lifelong learning and intercultural dialogue – and organises international training events in the museological field. She co-ordinated the EU funded Network ‘LEM – The Learning Museum’ and has led several other European projects, many of which have been identified as best practice. Since 2008 she has been on the executive board of NEMO (Network of European Museum Organisations). She has edited various publications on museum education and lifelong learning, intercultural dialogue and quality in museum work. She is chair of judges for the Children in Museums Award.


Gregor Isenbort|Germany

Gregor studied economic and social history and philosophy in Bonn (Germany) and Perugia (Italy). 1998-2002 were spent at the House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn, before moving to the Rhineland Industrial Museum (2003-2004). From 2004 to 2007 he worked at the Rhineland State Museum in Bonn, before winning a DAAD scholarship in Bogota, Columbia (2005-2006). In 2007 he became Head of Public Relations and Temporary Exhibitions at the Museum for Communication in Berlin, where he stayed until 2013. He is currently Director of the DASA Working World Exhibition in Dortmund.


Lidija Nikočević|Croatia

Lidija is an anthropologist with a career in safeguarding heritage and museums for many years. Since 1997 she has been the Director of the Ethnographic Museum of Istria, Croatia. Communication in museums is one of her main interests and so she has specially interested in young visitors. Within her studies, she carried out research in migrations, political anthropology, historical anthropology and rituals in transformation. Intangible heritage is also one of the main topics of her professional activity. She has been President of the Croatian ICOM National Committee (2010-2013) and Treasurer of ICME (ICOM). At present she is the Croatian representative in the ŽIVA award competition for the best Slavic museum and a member of the Advisory Committee for intangible heritage of Croatia.


Dirk Houtgraaf|The Netherlands

Dirk worked many years as leader of the exhibit development team of the new Naturalis museum. He later became director of Public Services, Vice-president and an interim President. He worked too for the public libraries, the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency and (still) as an examiner in a strategic management educational institute. He is a biologist and strategic marketeer by training, and nowadays focused on (IT) information strategies and on positioning and branding in not-profit organizations.He is author and co-author on books as “Businessmodellen” (Dutch) and “Mastering a Museum Plan: Strategies for Exhibit Development” (English).