Three UK nominees for European Museum of the Year 2020
Tilda Coleman, 12.12.2019
St Fagan’s, V&A Dundee and National Museum of Scotland on the longlist
Three UK museums have been nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award 2020.
Two Scottish museums, the V&A Dundee and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, are in the running, alongside St Fagan’s National Museum of History in Wales.
The awards ceremony will take place at Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) in Cardiff in April and May next year. Applications are open to new museums that have opened to the public in the last three years, or established ones that have completed substantial modernisation, extension or reorganisation in that period.
A spokesperson for the National Museum of Scotland said it was “delighted” to be shortlisted. The museum’s recent transformation saw the creation of three new galleries. It is now the most visited attraction in the UK outside of London.
The director of V&A Dundee, Phillip Long, said he is “thrilled”, and that the nomination is a “very fitting recognition of the hard work of everyone who’s been involved in creating V&A Dundee”, which opened in September 2018.
Asked about the award’s recognition of two Scottish museums, Long said: “Scottish museums are very diverse and exciting institutions”.
V&A Dundee welcomed more than 800,000 visitors in its first 12 months, exceeding estimates the museum made prior to opening.
The European Museum Forum grants the award to a museum “which contributes most directly to attracting audiences and satisfying its visitors with unique atmosphere, imaginative interpretation and presentation, a creative approach to education and social responsibility”.
Across Europe, the nominations include Liechtenstein’s Postal Museum and Anne Frank House in the Netherlands.
Nia Williams, the director of learning and engagement at St Fagan’s National Museum of History, said: “We are delighted to be nominated for this prestigious award and to be recognised on an international platform alongside fantastic museums across Europe.”
St Fagan’s, which this year became the first Welsh museum to win the Art Fund Museum of the Year, completed a major redevelopment in 2018. Among other things, the project saw the opening of new galleries and a workshop.
The museum remained open throughout the redevelopment, and turned the construction work into a public programme, which William said was an “innovative approach” that reflects the museum’s aim “to create history ‘with’ rather than ‘for’ the people of Wales”.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Cardiff next year.