British Museum shortlisted for £100,000 Art Fund Prize

Art Fund Prize and Clore Award for Museum Learning Announced

The British Museum has been shortlisted for this year’s £100,000 Art Fund Prize. The purpose of the prize is to recognise originality and excellence in museums and galleries in the UK.The prize longlist, which was made up of 10 museums and galleries, was announced on 2 February.Other nominated institutions include, the Polar Museum in Cambridge, The new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Scotland and The Roman Baths Museum in Bath. The British Museum was praised for its project A History of the World as seen through 100 objects. The exhibition was held in tandem with BBC Radio 4’s series A History of the World in a 100 Objects – a narrative of global history using the museum’s collection of artefacts from two million years ago to the present day. The Roman Baths Museum in Bath was shortlisted for its £5.5m restoration project. Built around Britain’s only hot spring, the museum and archaeological site contributed towards Bath’s inclusion on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites. The exhibition was singled out for it’s multi-media presentations of history through reconstructive projections using slides on architectural fragments to show the structures complete and as they would have appeared in ancient times. Other museums on the list include,The list includes Museums Sheffield: Weston Park; the National Museum of the Royal Navy; South London Gallery; The Pitt Rivers Museum and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History; and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums. The purpose of The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries is to recognise and stimulate originality and excellence in museums and galleries in the UK, and increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer.       A single award of £100,000 is presented to a museum or gallery whose entry, in the opinion of the judges, best meets the Prize criteria through a project completed or mainly undertaken in the previous calendar year.  

Michael Portillo, Chair of the Judges, said: “Making the selection was far from easy, out of an extensive list of strong entries. The result shows a wide geographical spread with museums from Scotland, Wales and a strong representation in the North of England. Equally remarkable is the variety of institutions included from the tiny Hertford Museum to the V&A and British Museum. Subject matter is equally diverse, ranging from contemporary art spaces to the history of polar exploration. We now look forward to visiting these outstanding examples of excellence and innovation in the museum world with a view to announcing the short list on 19 May. We also look forward to taking account of the public vote in which people can participate online.” Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “The Art Fund Prize annually champions the most fascinating, challenging and engaging new museum projects in the UK. As ever, our panel of judges had a tough job selecting a long list from a strong set of applications, but they finally came to the unanimous decision in favour of these ten museums and galleries, each encapsulating excellence and innovation, albeit all in very different ways. From Llandudno to Hertford, London to Alloway, we hope people will go and be inspired by these spectacular projects, and that they’ll come back and let us know their thoughts via our online poll. The coming weeks will be crucial for the judges in assessing which museums make it onto the short list. The public’s participation has an important part to play.”

Last year the prize went to the Ulster Museum in Belfast.  The prize will be presented at Tate Britain on 15 June.

The inaugural Clore Award for Museum Learning also announced

Supported by the Clore Duffield Foundation the new £10,000 Award recognises and celebrates quality, impact and innovation in using museums and galleries for learning activities and initiatives.

The Clore Award for Museum Learning sits under the umbrella of the Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries, which awards £100,000 annually to the ‘Museum of the Year’. The Art Fund Prize short list is being announced tonight by Chair of the Judges, Michael Portillo, on Radio 4’s Front Row.

Five museums and galleries have been short listed for the Clore Award for Museum Learning:

Museums Sheffield: Weston Park, Sheffield for With Sheba and Arwa (Belonging) – engaging communities and young people in a programme of learning and co-curation inspired by the legacy of two great Yemeni queens, Bilqis (Queen of Sheba) and Arwa (Sayyida Hurra), and modern day experiences of UK-Arabic women.

National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth for Face to Face: Documenting experiences of conflict – a film project with primary school pupils and veterans exploring the impact of war.

South London Gallery, London for Making Play – adventures in creative play through contemporary art.

The Pitt Rivers Museum and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford for Making Museums – children design and make their own museums, from acquisition to exhibition, celebrating their identities.

Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Newcastle upon Tyne for Culture Shock – a digital storytelling project in the North East.

The Clore Award judging panel is co-chaired by Dame Vivien Duffield DBE, Chairman of the Clore Duffield Foundation and Sally Bacon, the Foundation’s Director.

Dame Vivien Duffield said: “I am delighted to see such a diverse shortlist for the Clore Award for Museum Learning. It’s diverse geographically, and in terms of collections and exhibitions – spanning anthropology, contemporary art, natural history, world history, local history, and the history of the Royal Navy. What unites each of the shortlisted entries is what this Award is seeking to celebrate: a commitment to inspirational, high-quality learning activities.”

Art Categories




Join the weekly newsletter and we will send you the latest news and articles straight to your inbox