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Announcing a new-look Art Fund Museum of the Year for 2020

As part of Art Fund’s continued commitment to support the UK’s museums and galleries, we are taking a different approach to Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2020.

In response to the huge challenges and financial pressures facing our museums, we’re increasing the total prize money to £200,000 – 40% more than in previous years – and dividing it equally between five winning museums.

The five winners will be announced on Monday 12 October, kicking off a week of activity to mark their achievements over the last year and celebrate the work of UK museums more broadly, with a varied programme of online content, events, and social media activity, offering a chance for everyone to get involved with museums up and down the country.

This follows on from our newly adapted funding programme, launched last month, which makes more than £2m available to help institutions through reopening and beyond, at a time when their very futures are at stake.

Selecting the five winners for this year’s prize will be: Jago Cooper, Curator of the Americas, The British Museum; Dame Liz Forgan (Chair), Trustee, Art Fund; Ryan Gander, artist; Melanie Keen, Director, The Wellcome Collection; and Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund.

Jenny Waldman says: ‘It’s exciting that we can begin to visit our inspiring museums again, but just because the doors are reopening it doesn’t mean they are ok. They can’t survive long-term with a fraction of visitors and they're continuing to navigate the huge challenges of Covid-19. This exceptional edition of Art Fund Museum of the Year will shine a spotlight on the incredible value museums bring to communities across the UK.’

Ryan Gander says: ‘For me a museum is a safe-haven for discovery, distraction and focused attention. When I find myself in a museum, I am a different person. I leave behind the repetition of the day-to-day and become an explorer of a cognitive treasure trove. Knowing that museums are there even when we are not physically in them, and knowing that at the drop of a hat we can go to a place that will provoke our imaginations and inspire us to have new and unusual thoughts, is essential for our wellbeing... like a gym for the mind.’

This new-look Art Fund Museum of the Year will offer people everywhere a further opportunity to get behind our museums at a time when they need us the most. We look forward to sharing more news about our plans in the coming weeks.

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