Getting to know... Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Find out more about the six Museum of the Year finalists with our weekly Q&As. This time, the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich talks hippos, helicopters and Henry Moore.

Describe yourself in three words: World art locally.

What’s new with you? I've been through so many changes in the last year it’s difficult to sum up! My newly refurbished temporary exhibition spaces opened in September 2013 – they are the largest in the east of England. The Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection has also been redisplayed and is now all on one floor for the first time. And a real highlight was when I was granted Grade II listed status by English Heritage.

What is your most treasured possession? Henry Moore’s beautiful stone sculpture Mother and Child was one of Sir Robert Sainsbury’s early purchases, and stands as an icon of the collection at the heart of the Living Area gallery. It represents something of the personal story of my founders, the Sainsburys, who were friends with Moore, as well as many of the other artists in my collection.

Who was your most famous visitor? Norman Foster, my architect, drops by in his helicopter sometimes!

Is there a museum/gallery pet? A 3,000-year-old ceramic hippopotamus from Egypt! There are also hundreds of rabbits on the University of East Anglia campus, and wildlife on the broad (lake).

I shouldn't leave without experiencing... The breathtaking view over the Living Area from my upstairs walkway.

You have a museum crush on... The Kimbell Art Museum, in Texas, United States.

You’re most happy when… I'm welcoming visitors for a new exhibition or event.

What do you most like about your appearance? How fresh and modern I still look, 36 years after opening.

And dislike? There are a lot of windows to clean!

This year you’re excited about... So many things! The Museum of the Year nomination, collaborations with museums in Brighton and France, a really packed exhibition schedule, working with students and academics from the University of East Anglia – and I'm always excited to introduce new visitors to my permanent collections.

If I was named Museum of the Year I would... be very happy! I have so many exciting ideas on how I would follow up from the award. For example, I'd like to create a new scholarship for students and enhance my outreach and education work, and so much more.

Visit the Sainsbury Centre's Museum of the Year page.

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