Art Fund reveals Museum of the Year shortlist - Museums Association

Art Fund reveals Museum of the Year shortlist

Winning museum will be announced in September and will receive £100,000
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Simon Stephens
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Centre for Contemporary in Art Derry~Londonderry. The last Art Fund Prize winner from Northern Ireland was Ulster Museum in 2010
Centre for Contemporary in Art Derry~Londonderry. The last Art Fund Prize winner from Northern Ireland was Ulster Museum in 2010 © Marc Atkins / Art Fund 2021

The five-strong shortlist for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 has been announced.

The shortlisted museums are:

  • Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry (Northern Ireland)
  • Experience Barnsley (Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England)
  • Firstsite (Colchester, Essex, England)
  • Thackray Museum of Medicine (Leeds, West Yorkshire, England)
  • Timespan (Helmsdale, Sutherland, Scotland)

The winning museum will be announced during the week commencing 20 September and will receive £100,000. The other four shortlisted museums will each receive £15,000.

“It has been incredible to see what museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK have achieved, overcoming the challenges of the past year,” said Art Fund director Jenny Waldman.

“Their resilience is nothing short of heroic. Our five finalists are all deeply embedded in their communities and alive to the possibilities of reaching far beyond their locality digitally. They have each shown extraordinary innovation and resolve.”

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The members of this year’s judging panel, chaired by Waldman, are Maria Balshaw, director of Tate and chair of the National Museum Directors’ Council; Edith Bowman, broadcaster; Katrina Brown, director of The Common Guild and Art Fund trustee; Suhair Khan, strategic projects lead at Google; and artist Thomas J Price.

Clockwise from top left: Firstsite, Colchester; Thackray Museum of Medicine, Leeds; Timespan in Helmsdale, Sutherland; and Experience BarnsleyCredits: Jayne Lloyd; Marc Atkins - Art Fund (Thackray, Timespan and Experience Barnsley)

For last year’s prize, the Art Fund responded to the challenges that museums faced under Covid by sharing the prize money equally between five winners: Aberdeen Art Gallery; Gairloch Museum; Science Museum; South London Gallery; and Towner Eastbourne.

Previous Museum of the Year winners have included St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff (2019); Tate St Ives (2018); The Hepworth, Wakefield (2017); Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London (2016); and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (2015).

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