Art Fund Prize rebrands itself as Museum of the Year

New criteria mean any Accredited museum or gallery can apply
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Sharon Heal
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The Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries has rebranded itself Museum of the Year and changed its criteria for applications.

Any Accredited museum or gallery can now apply for the prize; in previous years the main criteria was a new project or redevelopment in the past 12 months.

In another major change the £10,000 Clore Award for Museum Learning has been incorporated into the main prize and the winner can now only be selected from the 10 finalists for the Museum of the Year.

Nick Winterbotham, chairman of the Group for Education in Museums, said that he welcomed the Clore Duffield Foundation’s continued support for museum learning.

But he added: “I wonder if it's not narrowing down the focus, to make just the main prize applicants eligible for the learning award? The real genius in learning innovation is often developed by professionals who'd not be able to muster support for a full-scale award campaign."

The £100,000 Museum of the Year prize will be open for applications from 2 January and the 10 finalists will be announced in early April.

Also, for the first time this year the judging panel will be chaired by Stephen Deuchar, the director of the Art Fund, which funds the prize.

A spokeswoman for the Art Fund said that it had changed its approach with the aim of streamlining the process and encouraging more applicants.

One of this year’s judges, artist Bob and Roberta Smith said he was eager to visit museums that are “old friends” as well as discovering spaces and collections he didn’t know.

“Through art we can fall in love across generations with people and ideas and be spurred on to inspire others.” 

The other judges are writer and broadcaster Bettany Hughes; historian and MP Tristram Hunt; and Daily Telegraph arts editor Sarah Crompton.

The deadline for applications is 6 February. For applications forms and further information see www.artfund.org/prize.



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