Children in Museums Award 2020

We confirm with regret that the 2020 Children in Museums Award has been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Existing candidates for 2020 Award will be transferred automatically to the 2021 Award without further charge.
The 2021 application form will be available in the late autumn.

Hands On! & EMA  are looking for exceptional and excellent children’s exhibition programmes for the Children in Museums Award 2020

CMA winners and nominees 2018 together with EMA & Hands On! presidents (left and right)


Applications are welcomed from children’s museums; from education, children’s and youth departments in museums; science centres; and from other cultural institutions with a particular emphasis on children’s programming. Museums may be long-established or recently opened. However, priority is given to programmes which display recent innovation. Candidates can compete as such or apply with a special (temporary) programme or exhibition. The project entered for the Award, however, must be current and open for viewing in the judging year, i.e. between 1 April and 30 June 2020.



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.

2. QUALITY OF LEARNING 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.

5. STAFF E.g. Showing good management and well-trained and experienced staff.


Entry fee

REGULAR: 295 €
MEMBERS: Hands On! International members will pay 225 €



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 evening event. Nominees will be named honorary ambassadors of the 21st Century Children Project co-funded by the European Union, as the represent best practice examples of future-oriented museum spaces for children.



The closing date for applications was 15 February 2020. Thank you for your application!



is genourosly supported by

Mercis B.V.




Ye Shufang|Singapore

Ye serves as Deputy Director of Education at National Gallery Singapore. She leads the vision, direction and development of learning resources and
programs for families, students and teachers. She also heads Children in Museums Award Winner 2018, the Gallery’sKeppel Centre for Art Education.


Veronica Sekules|United Kingdom

Veronica 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).