The Mouse House is a space, within Great North Museum: Hancock, which is dedicated to under 5’s and their families. The award-winning Mouse House programme inspires these families to engage with the wider museum, its collections, exhibitions, and university research through a series of playful sessions.
The regular sessions include Nurture Nest, for pre-crawling babies; Curious Crawlers, for crawling babies; On the Move, for early walkers and toddling toddlers; and Museum Mice for mixed under 5’s. There is also a special events programme which includes Toddler Takeovers, Baby Takeovers, Animal Yoga and Baby Sensory planetarium shows. Alongside our family programme, the Mouse House also runs a series of playful educational workshops for nursery and reception groups.
The support of the Shears Foundation’s enables the museum to employ a dedicated under 5’s specialist, who is able to develop and deliver suitable activities, build positive relationships with our visitors, and inspire the next generation from their very earliest years. With our under 5’s specialist in place the museum is establishing national recognition for it’s extensive under 5’s programme from the museum sector and is supporting other museums in developing their own programmes.
In 2019 the museum won the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Award for best medium sized Family Friendly Museum, in which the Mouse House programme was highly praised.
The under 5’s specialist also has a number of case studies published within the museum sector to inspire and inform others on how to provide fun and engaging learning experiences for early years children in their settings.