Replacing the museum's annual Chichester Roman Week event, which was cancelled this year as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the virtual festival took place across the museum's social media channels and website during May half term.

Kids in Museums has run a prestigious annual award for the past 15 years, recognising the most family friendly heritage sites in the UK. This year, the charity asked families and museums to vote for what they thought was the best online activity for families during lockdown. A panel of museum experts then whittled down over 400 nominations to a shortlist of 26 museums in five categories.

The Novium Museum's virtual festival will be vying against four other museums in the 'Best Social Media Activity' category: Royal Academy, London; Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft; National Museums, Liverpool; and National Museums, Wales.

Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Culture and Community Services at Chichester District Council, says; "We are so thrilled to have been nominated for the Kids in Museums' 'Family Friendly Museum Award From Home' award. During lockdown, staff at The Novium Museum remained committed to sharing Chichester's history by making more exhibitions and collections available online, as well as creating a series of activities to help children with their home learning.

"Chichester Roman Week is one of the highlights in our events calendar, so rather than cancel it completely this year, museum staff worked hard to create a varied, educational and fun festival of online events, allowing people to take part from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Activities included a blend of games, recipes, stories, and craft activities, and these are all still available on museum's website for people to enjoy."

Over the summer holidays, family judges will try out all the activities. Their feedback will then decide a winner and a highly commended award for each category. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

Cllr. Briscoe added: "This nomination comes at an exciting time for The Novium Museum, as we prepare to reopen our doors to visitors from Tuesday 28 July. We are pleased to hear that so many people have been able to access and enjoy our online content, and we are looking forward to welcoming our visitors back to the museum in person!"

Chichester Roman Week has previously been recognised at the regional Beautiful South Awards for Excellence, winning a Bronze award in 2018, as well as being Highly Commended at the national Museums and Heritage Awards in 2019.

The Family Friendly Museum Award From Home has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England.

The virtual festival is available on the museum's website.

The Novium Museum reopens on Tuesday, 28 July. Admission is free, but booking in advance is essential. Tickets can be booked online now and people can also find out about some changes that have been made to the museum and Tourist Information Centre to ensure the safety of staff and visitors in line with Government guidance.

Date of release: 23 July 2020

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