Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018: applications now open

Applications opened today for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018, the biggest museum prize in the world.

Celebrating innovation and exceptional achievement in museums and galleries across the UK, Art Fund Museum of the Year awards £100,000 to one outstanding winner and £10,000 to each other finalist to support future activity.

With past winners including The Hepworth Wakefield (2017), the V&A (2016) and the Whitworth (2015), the prize has done much to draw national and international attention to the remarkable creativity and accomplishments of UK museums. On the unveiling of the 2017 winner earlier this year, the Hepworth’s director Simon Wallis praised the ‘unflagging passion’ of his team, and Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar called the gallery ‘a powerful force of energy from the moment it opened in 2011… it’s the museum everyone would dream of having on their doorstep’.

On the judging panel for the 2018 prize are Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group; BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones; artist Melanie Manchot; independent media consultant and Art Fund trustee Monisha Shah, and Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar as chair. They will consider applications from all eligible entrants across the UK before the shortlist of finalist museums is announced in late April 2018. The award ceremony will take place on 5 July 2018 at the V&A, London.

'The announcement today to launch Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 is a reflection of our commitment to the UK’s museums,' said Deuchar at today's launch. 'We believe that our museums and galleries are engines of cultural development in this country: centres of innovation, pioneering new ways of engaging with the public, and encouraging more people to understand and enjoy the diverse cultures of the UK. The search is now on for our next Art Fund Museum of the Year, and we encourage organisations nationwide to apply.'

On the impact of the Hepworth's win in 2017, Wallis said: 'We were absolutely delighted and honoured to have won Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017. We will always be proud of this achievement, as are the residents of Wakefield and Yorkshire. Winning this prestigious accolade was a fitting acknowledgement of the ambitious and passionate team at The Hepworth Wakefield, but also of our loyal and engaged members, patrons, supporters and local residents. The impact of winning has delivered even greater audience growth this year as the broad media exposure introduced the gallery to new people and convinced those who have long been meaning to visit to finally make the trip.'

Applications for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 are open now and will close at 12 noon on 6 February 2018.

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