The Art Fund has announced plans for a nationwide campaign for museums including a revamped Museum of the Year Award, which will see five venues share prize money of £200,000 – a 40% increase from 2019.The charity says its plans are in response to the financial impact Covid-19 has had on the sector, and the “huge challenges” many venues face as they begin to reopen and adapt to social distancing measures.
A week-long celebration of museums will be held in October, starting with the announcement of the winners of the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award 2020 on 12 October.
A panel of judges – including Jago Cooper, curator of the Americas at the British Museum in London and the artist Ryan Gander – will select five winners based “on their achievements in 2019-2020”. Nominations for the awards closed in February.
The remainder of the week will include events, debates and social activity. The Art Fund Museum of the Year will continue its partnership with the BBC in 2020, with more coverage to be announced in due course.
“It’s exciting that we can begin to visit our inspiring museums again, but just because the doors are reopening it doesn’t mean they are okay,” said Jenny Waldman, director of the Art Fund and also one of the 2020 judges.
“They can’t survive long-term with a fraction of visitors and they're continuing to navigate the huge challenges of Covid-19. This exceptional edition of Art Fund Museum of the Year will shine a spotlight on the incredible value museums bring to communities across the UK.”
St Fagans National Museum of History in Wales won the £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year prize in 2019, with four other finalists (V&A Dundee, HMS Caroline in Belfast, Nottingham Contemporary and Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum) each receiving £10,000 in recognition of their achievements.
David Anderson, the director general of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said: “Winning Art Fund Museum of the Year has helped us to fulfil our mission to help people and communities in Wales to have a better and culturally richer life, to protect our natural environment, and to sustain and build our connections with peoples in Europe and across the world.”