The UK’s national charity for art, Art Fund, has announced a five museum shortlist as finalists for the 10th anniversary edition of its Museum of the Year award. The world’s largest museum prize will see the winner receive an incredible £120,000 prize on 12th July 2023.

The finalists for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023 are:

— The Burrell Collection (Glasgow)
— Leighton House (London)
— The MAC (Belfast)
— Natural History Museum (London)
— Scapa Flow Museum (Orkney)

Each year Art Fund honours five exceptional museums that demonstrated transformational impact, redeveloping their offers with diverse and inspiring stories at their heart and responding to vital issues of today.

Having championed the UK’s 2,500 museums, galleries and heritage sites for the last half century, this award continues to demonstrate Art Fund’s commitment to shining a light on the remarkable work being carried out by the country’s cultural institutions.

The £120,000 prize – increased for 2023 and beyond to mark 120 years of Art Fund supporting museums – will be awarded at a ceremony held at the British Museum in London on 12th July, with an additional £15,000 to be given to each of the four other finalists.

This year’s highly regarded panel of judges, chaired by Art Fund director Jenny Waldman, includes:

— Historian and broadcaster, Mary Beard
— Artist, Larry Achiampong
— Art Fund trustee, author and owner of Hustle Crew, Abadesi Osunsade
— Director of National Museums Liverpool, Laura Pye

The judges will spend the next few weeks visiting each of the finalists as they showcase their summer events and activities season. Upon the announcement of the finalists, Art Fund director, Jenny Waldman, said,

“The five Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023 finalists are at the top of their game, offering inspirational collections and programmes for their communities, for visitors from across the UK and around the world. From transformational redevelopment to community involvement to addressing the major issues of today, the shortlisted museums may operate at very different scales, but all show astonishing ambition and boundless creativity. Each is a blueprint for future innovation in museums. Visit them if you possibly can.”

For the 10th anniversary edition of Art Fund Museum of the Year, Art Fund has collaborated with Google Arts & Culture to present the last decade of the prize in the form of a new online experience available now.

Featuring an exclusive overview of the shortlisted and winning museums from each of the previous years, the digital experience includes the stories, rich in imagery and insight from museums and judges.  Among those to appear are Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2014 winner), St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff (2019 winner) and Horniman Museum and Gardens, London.

The Art Fund Museum of the Year prize is funded through the generosity of Art Fund’s members who buy a National Art Pass. Pass holders enjoy discounts and benefits at the shortlisted museums and hundreds more. Art Fund Museum of the Year continues its collaboration with the BBC in 2023.

About Art Fund Museum of the Year

The first ‘Art Fund Museum of the Year’ was awarded in 2013 to the William Morris Gallery in London. Its forerunner was the Prize for Museums and Galleries, administered by the Museum Prize Trust. Art Fund supported this prize between 2008 – 2012, when it was known as the ‘Art Fund Prize’. It was sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation from 2003-2007, when it was known as the ‘Gulbenkian Museum Prize’.

Art Fund Museum of the Year champions what museums do, encourages more people to visit and gets to the heart of what makes a truly outstanding museum. The judges present the prize to the museum or gallery that has shown how their achievements of the preceding year stand out, demonstrated what makes their work innovative, and the impact it has had on audiences.

Winners of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2013 – 2022: 

2013 – William Morris Gallery, London

2014 – Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield

2015 – Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

2016 – Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London

2017 – The Hepworth, Wakefield

2018 – Tate St Ives

2019 – St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff

2020 – Aberdeen Art Gallery; Gairloch Museum; Science Museum; South London Gallery; and Towner Eastbourne.

2021 – Firstsite, Colchester

2022 – Horniman Museum and Gardens, London

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