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Playful Museums Festival

Playful Museums Festival turns 5!

It is the 5th birthday of the Festival which has been taking place each February since 2017.  2021 Festival has been re-imagined in response to the challenges of the pandemic.  This year a celebration of musuems creatively engaging with under 5s will take place virtually #NIPlayfulMuseums

Squiggles & Giggles come to Playful Museums Festival 2021

NI Museums Council has worked with Kelsey Barr of Squiggles & Giggles and partnered with 5 local museums and their collections to find creative, fun and engaging ways to connect with under 5s and their adults.  This has resulted in a series of playful workshop videos which were launched during Festval 2021.  #NIPlayfulMuseums Check out the NI Museums council YouTube Channel to view the videos

Liz Weir comes to Playful Museums Festival 2021

NI Museums Council is working with storyteller Liz Weir to produce a series of short story videos which were profiled during Festival 2021.  

Grant support

NI Musuems Council grant supports local museums  in delivering Playful Museum Festival activity.  During 2021 5 local museums have received assistance to develop fun activities and make collections enagging for under 5s.  The museums are: NI War Memorial, Mid Antrim Museum, Ballymoney Museum, F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Armagh Robinson Library and No. 5 Vicars' Hill.


NI Museums Council has sought input to 2021 Festival planning from Playboard NI and Stranmillis University College Department of Early Childhood Studies as well as connecting with other developing under 5s programming in the UK museum sector through the Early Years Network and GEM.

Festival 2021 was supported by a student placement from the QUB Masters in Public History.  This placement student, Emma-Jayne Smethurst,  was involved in the social media promotion and the development and delivery of engagement activity with North Down Museum.  You can view the video Emma-Jayne created here  and visit North Down Museum's website for more details of the resources created


Local museums across NI are providing a range of activities targetted specifically at under 5s.  This work is spotlighted during the month of February each year with the Playful Museums Festival.  As part of Festival 2020 13 local museums programmed 31 events in which 5110 participated.  NI Musuems Council granted supported Festival activity at 7 of the participating museums- Mid Antrim Museum, Tower Museum, North Down Museum, Newry and Mourne Museum, Armagh Robinson Library and No. 5 Vicars' Hill, Hezlett House and Carrickfergus Museum.  These grants faciliatated over 600 participations in Festival programming.

For further information please contact:

Rachel McCance, Development Officer (Learning)


or visit our Facebook page.