Museum of the Year

The Museum of the Year Award, formerly known as the Gulbenkian Prize and the Art Fund Prize, is an annual prize awarded to a museum or gallery in the United Kingdom for a "track record of imagination, innovation and excellence". The award of £100,000, is Britain's biggest single art prize, and the largest single museum arts prize in the world.[1] The prize and is presented to a museum or gallery, large or small, anywhere in the UK, whose entry, in the opinion of the judges, best demonstrates a track record of imagination, innovation and excellence through work mainly undertaken during the previous calendar year.[2][3]

Art Fund Museum of the Year
2019 Awards
Awarded forA single U.K. museum with track record of imagination, innovation and excellence
Sponsored byArt Fund
DateAnnually in July
LocationUnited Kingdom
First awarded1973 (1973)
Last awarded2019 (2019)
WebsiteArt Fund Museum of Year
"The Cockpit" at St. Fagans, 2019 winner


The Museum of the Year was awarded by the British charity National Heritage from 1973 to 2000.[4] In 2001, the Museum Prize Trust was established with the aim of creating a single award to replace this prize and three others awarded by the Museums Association, the Art Fund and the Campaign for Museums.[5] The Gulbenkian Prize, as this was known, was first awarded in 2003.[3] The prize's principal sponsor until 2007 was the Lisbon-based Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, but since 2008 it has been sponsored by the Art Fund.[6] It adopted its current name in late 2012,[7] and the first award under the new name was given in 2013.

Since 2011 the Clore Award for Museum Learning, worth £10,000 and sponsored by the Clore Duffield Foundation, has been awarded for "quality museum and gallery learning with children and young people (from early years up to the age of 25) in any setting, in or out of school or college".[8] For its first two years this award had a separate shortlist but in 2013 it was awarded to an institution on the Museum of the Year shortlist, which had expanded from four to ten finalists.[5]

List of winners and shortlisted entries

National Heritage Museum of the Year (1973–2000)

Year Winner
1973 Abbot Hall Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry, Kendal, Cumbria
1974 National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire
1975 Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton, West Sussex
1976 Gladstone Pottery Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
1977 Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Telford, Shropshire
1978 Erddig Hall, Wrexham
Museum of London
1979 Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery, Saint Peter Port
1980 Natural History Museum, London
1981 Hunday Farm Museum, Stocksfield, Northumberland
1982 Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
1983 Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, County Down
1984 Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire
1985 Burrell Collection, Glasgow
1986 Beamish, The North of England Open Air Museum, County Durham
1987 Manchester Museum
1988 National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford, West Yorkshire
1989 National Portrait Gallery at Bodelwyddan Castle, Denbighshire
1990 Imperial War Museum, London
Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester
1991 National Railway Museum, York
1992 Manx National Museum, Douglas
1993 Jersey Museum and Art Gallery, St Helier
Jersey Maritime Museum, St Helier
1994 Tower Museum, Derry, County Londonderry
1995 Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire
1996 Buckinghamshire County Museum, Aylesbury
National Trust exhibition at Uppark, South Harting, West Sussex
1997 Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
1998 House of Manannan: Manx National Heritage, Peel
Jersey Maritime Museum, St Helier
1999 River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
2000 British Museum, London


Gulbenkian Prize (2003–2007)

Year Winner Shortlisted
2003 National Centre for Citizenship, Galleries of Justice, Nottingham[9]
2004 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh[11]
2005 Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon, Torfaen[13]
2006 SS Great Britain, Bristol[15]
2007 Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex[17]

Art Fund Prize (2008–2012)

Year Winner Shortlisted
2008 The Lightbox, Woking, Surrey[19]
2009 Wedgwood Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire[21]
2010 Ulster Museum, Belfast[23]
2011 A History of the World in 100 Objects, British Museum, London[24]
2012 Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, Devon[26]

Art Fund Museum of the Year (2013–)

Year Winner Shortlisted
2013 William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, London[28]
2014 Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield[31]
2015 Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester[33]
2016 Victoria and Albert Museum, London[35]
2017 The Hepworth Wakefield[37]
2018 Tate St Ives[39]
2019 St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff[41]

See also


  1. Mark Brown (6 July 2016). "'Unforgettable' V&A wins museum of the year award". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2019. The museum wins £100,000, the biggest museum prize in the world and the largest arts award in the UK.
  2. Guy Kelly (27 June 2015). "Who's who on the shortlist for the Art Fund museum of the year". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 October 2019. It is the largest prize in the world of museums, and as well as receiving £100,000, the victor can expect visitor numbers to soar.
  3. "Museums get £100,000 prize". BBC News. 16 September 2002. Retrieved 18 March 2008.
  4. "Awards and Winners" (PDF), National Heritage, National Heritage, retrieved 28 June 2019
  5. The Museum Prize Trust, retrieved 10 June 2013
  6. "Judges announced for Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries". The Art Fund. 26 October 2007.
  7. "Art Fund Prize Becomes Museum of the Year". Art+Auction. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  8. "Clore Award for Learning". The Art Fund. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  9. Winner 2003
  10. Short List 2003
  11. Winner 2004
  12. Short List 2004
  13. Winner 2005
  14. "Short List 2005".
  15. Winner 2006
  16. "Short List 2006".
  17. "Winner 2007".
  18. Short List 2007
  19. Museum inspired by community campaign scoops £100,000 prize, The Art Fund, 22 May 2008, archived from the original on 23 March 2012
  20. Short list for The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries announced, The Art Fund, 18 April 2008
  21. Wedgwood Museum scoops The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries, The Art Fund, 18 June 2009, archived from the original on 23 March 2012
  22. The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries short list for UK's largest arts prize announced, The Art Fund, 6 May 2009
  23. Ulster Museum wins £100,000 Art Fund Prize, The Art Fund, 30 June 2010, archived from the original on 17 November 2010
  24. British Museum scoops £100,000 Art Fund Prize and is crowned 'Museum of the Year', The Art Fund, 15 June 2011, archived from the original on 19 June 2011
  25. Four museums short listed for £100,000 Art Fund Prize, The Art Fund, 19 May 2011
  26. Royal Albert Memorial Museum crowned 'Museum of the Year', The Art Fund, archived from the original on 25 June 2012, retrieved 20 December 2012
  27. "Four museums make Art Fund Prize shortlist". BBC News. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  28. Goldsmith, Belinda (4 June 2013), William Morris Gallery crowned British museum of year, Reuters, retrieved 10 June 2013
  29. The Hepworth Wakefield wins £10,000 Clore Learning Award, The Hepworth Wakefield, retrieved 10 June 2013
  30. "Art Fund Museum of the Year Award 2013 Shortlist Announced", ArtLyst, 2 April 2013, retrieved 3 April 2013
  31. Gray, Maggie (10 July 2014), "Yorkshire Sculpture Park named Art Fund's Museum of the Year", Apollo, retrieved 12 July 2014
  32. "Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2014: Shortlist Announced", Apollo, 25 April 2014, retrieved 27 April 2014
  33. Pes, Javier (2 July 2015), "Whitworth named UK museum of the year", The Art Newspaper, retrieved 5 July 2015
  34. Atkinson, Rebecca (24 April 2015), Six museums shortlisted for Museum of the Year 2015, Museums Association, retrieved 5 July 2015
  35. Pes, Javier (7 July 2016), "Victoria and Albert Museum wins UK's glittering award", The Art Newspaper, archived from the original on 11 July 2016, retrieved 7 July 2016
  36. V&A up for Museum of the Year £100,000 prize, BBC News, 29 April 2016, retrieved 29 April 2016
  37. Museum of the Year: Hepworth Wakefield gallery wins £100,000 prize, BBC News, 5 July 2017, retrieved 5 July 2017
  38. Bright, Emily (28 April 2017), Art Fund Museum of the Year finalists announced, Museums Association, retrieved 30 April 2017
  39. Kennedy, Maev (5 July 2018), "'Breathtakingly beautiful': Tate St Ives wins museum of the year award", The Guardian, retrieved 7 July 2018
  40. Museum of the Year 2018: Introducing the shortlist, BBC, 1 May 2018, retrieved 17 May 2018
  41. St Fagans National Museum of History wins Museum of the Year, BBC, 4 July 2019, retrieved 4 July 2019
  42. "Museum of the Year 2019: Meet the five finalists", BBC Arts, 25 April 2019, retrieved 26 April 2019
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