With the greatest respect for British art, Hyun-Jung Yoon visits five leading museums and galleries in London and tells Bo-Kyung Park how family-friendly they are.

Hyun-Jung Yoon has produced children’s exhibitions and programmes for many museums and organisations in South Korea such as Gwacheon National Science Museum, Ulsan City Museum, National Goheung Children’s Universe Centre and so on.

This is not her first visit to London. She went backpacking in Britain and other European countries 10 years ago.

Now she is back as an exhibition consultant and also as an outsider to scrutinise the child-friendliness of five leading art places in London.

Welcome to the British Museum

The British Museum came out as the strongest competitor for holding special exhibitions that everyone can enjoy.

When Hyun-Jung visited, it was in the middle of a so-called ‘Hands On’ programme that is to handle genuine objects from the Museum’s collection with its trained volunteers.

She was amazed not only by its various collections in different exhibitions but also by communication between visitors and its staff members.

Interestingly, young participants all seemed to be earnest and sincere in what they were doing.

“The British Museum is the best place to have fun and learn many things for both children and adults. London is very lucky to have this kind of place,” said Hyun-Jung.

The National Gallery is national pride

Undoubtedly, the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square is also a very good place for travelers and family visitors.

However, Hyun-Jung said: “Having had an easy access to its facilities, I feel like I’m under too much surveillance to enjoy the art.”

However, the National Gallery does have the most developed facilities such as toilets and cafes so that children, parents, and disabled people can access every place in the gallery.

Its exhibitions are fascinating enough to draw everyone’s attention.

For example, from 25 February to 7 June visitors can enjoy the exhibition Picasso: Challenging the Past.

Experience the exciting science

The Science Museum is of course the national pride of British science and has won a number of awards recognising both the museum and its online activities.

It regularly provides free events and many kinds of programmes about art, energy, environment, medicine and biology, space, transport and so on for different age groups including adults – a good place, says Hyun-Jung, for the family to spend the Easter holidays.

Discover child-friendliness in 'Discover'

Hyun-Jung’s personal recommendation for children in terms of its variety of events is Discover.

This museum offers fun ways to stretch children’s imagination and has various unique programmes that enable both children and parents to interact.

A focal point of the museum is “Story Trail and Story Garden”, which opened to the public in 2003.

Here children can make up a story whilst following the “Story Trail” and playing around in the “Story Garden”.

Finally, Hyun-Jung’s verdict on the British Library is that it could potentially be a leading place for arts and culture.

Considering that it is just a library, it provides impressive exhibitions and events such as Taking Liberties that is about the 900-year struggle for Britain’s freedoms and rights.

“Yet,” says Hyun-Jung, “the library lacks the necessary facilities.”

Photos by Bo Kyung Park
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Is art family-friendly enough?

By: Bo KYung Park