12 brilliant things you can do right now with your National Art Pass

The Burrell Collection, Glasgow, Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023

Art Fund turns 120 this month. As we celebrate 12 decades of supporting museums, we’ve picked 12 brilliant things you can do right now (or very soon) with your National Art Pass.

Your National Art Pass is a powerful thing – giving you great benefits at museums and galleries across the UK, while raising money to support them.

Here are 12 inspiring things you can see and do with your pass right now, all recommended by members of the Art Fund team. Even better, your support as an Art Fund member has made quite a few of these possible.

Thanks for showing your love for museums and galleries – we hope you enjoy a wonderful month of art and culture.

Pompeii Murmillo Gladiator helmet

Be a Roman gladiator for a day

This family-friendly exhibition at Colchester Castle explores what it would have been like to be a Roman gladiator thousands of years ago, and it features a very special artefact: a 2,000-year-old gladiator’s helmet, which the museum has been able to borrow from the British Museum for this exhibition thanks to one of our funding programmes, the Weston Loan Programme.

Gina Birch, 3 Minute Scream, 1977

See powerful feminist art

One of the highlights of the autumn exhibitions calendar, the blockbuster show Women in Revolt at Tate Britain includes work by more than 100 women artists who were making powerful feminist art between 1970 and 1990. When undertaking research for the show during lockdown, the exhibition’s curator, Linsey Young, was able to get hold of specialist books and materials using one of our Jonathan Ruffer curatorial grants – and, once lockdown ended, meet some of the featured artists.

While you’re at Tate Britain, why not also check out the permanent collection. The recent rehang features no less than 36 works acquired over the decades by Tate with Art Fund support. See if you can spot them all...

Leighton House
Leighton House

Peek into an artist's studio

Do you like seeing what goes on in an artist’s studio? Well, you can get a double helping at Leighton House this autumn, as Lawrence Alma-Tadema's painting In My Studio is now on display at the former home of Frederic, Lord Leighton. The museum was able to acquire the work, which depicts a glimpse of Alma-Tadema’s own studio and collections, earlier this year with the help of a £350,000 grant from Art Fund. See it in the Silk Room, and make sure to have a nose around Leighton’s own studio, too.

Harun Morrison, Daughter Waving at Mother Surfing. 16 April 2023, St Ives Bay

Explore an exhibition about climate change

What does climate change mean for coastal communities? That’s the question this exhibition asks, with work by artists including Angela YT Chan, Joey Holder, and Rebecca Chesney with Lubaina Himid on show. Supported by one of our Reimagine grants, Storm Warning looks at issues facing the coastlines of Mount’s Bay and South Essex, and seeks to raise awareness of the impact of the climate crisis on these communities. The exhibition is showing across both Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange in Penzance (18 November 2023 – 13 April 2024), and at Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea (until 6 January 2024).

The Burrell Collection

Visit the winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023...

If you haven’t yet visited the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, pop it on your must-see list this autumn. Home to over 9,000 objects, recently redisplayed to celebrate the diversity of the collection and draw out different perspectives, the museum occupies a lovely light-filled building in Pollok Country Park. See for yourself why the judges named it the winner of the world’s biggest museum prize.

Taloi Havini, Habitat, 2018-19, installation view at Artspace, Sydney

See cutting-edge contemporary art

If you’re looking for innovative contemporary art, get yourself along to the Artes Mundi exhibition – it only happens every two years. Taking place at five venues across Wales, this year’s exhibition showcases work by seven exciting contemporary artists from around the world, one of whom will be awarded the Artes Mundi prize. The exhibition is free, but you can enjoy a range of great benefits with your pass at Chapter, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Mostyn and National Museum Cardiff.

Set to Stun

Indulge in some classic sci-fi

Science fiction fans will love this exhibition at Gunnersbury Park Museum exploring the work of several west London workshops and design studios, who fed into some of the UK’s most iconic sci-fi films and TV shows. Set to Stun features costumes, prosthetics, props and more for sci-fi classics including Doctor Who, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Red Dwarf – and over 100 people helped make it possible by supporting the museum’s crowdfunding campaign on our Art Happens platform.

The Faith Museum

Check out one of our new partners

We’re always adding new places to our network for you to explore with your pass. As well as Gunnersbury Park Museum, some of the museums we’ve welcomed into our network most recently are the Faith Museum within the Auckland Project (pictured), which explores the different ways faith has shaped lives and communities across Britain; Nantwich Museum, which showcases the history of one of Cheshire’s most historic towns; and the National Emergency Services Museum, housed in a historic police, fire and ambulance station in Sheffield.

Dame Magdalene Odundo, Asymmetric Vessel, 2021.
Dame Magdalene Odundo, Asymmetric Vessel, 2021.

Spot some stunning ceramics

Art Fund members can see their support in action at the Hepworth Wakefield this autumn, with lots of Art Fund-supported works appearing in the beautiful Art of the Potter exhibition, on until January. The exhibition explores the relationship between sculpture and ceramics in the 20th and 21st centuries, and features Magdalene Odundo’s striking Asymmetric Vessel (2021), which we helped the gallery acquire in 2022.

During your visit, look out for another recent acquisition – Hannah Starkey’s photo Kirkgate Towers, one of four works by Starkey joining the collection with support from a Freelands Art Fund Acquisition grant.

IWM Lambeth Road Atrium showing Kamikaze Ohka. Photographed 24th January.
IWM London

Explore a new gallery

You’ll also find a number of Art Fund-supported works in the Imperial War Museum London’s new Art, Film and Photography Galleries, which open on 10 November. The new galleries explore how artists, photographers and filmmakers bear witness to, document and tell the story of war and conflict. Among the Art Funded works on display will be Walter Sickert’s First World War painting Tipperary (1914), which we helped the museum acquire in 2021.

Thomas J Price, Warm Shores, 2022

Take a tour of public sculptures

Last but certainly not least, if you haven’t yet seen Veronica Ryan and Thomas J Price’s emotive sculptures honouring the Windrush generation, in Hackney, make a beeline the next time you’re in London. The works were commissioned with Art Fund support and unveiled in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Ryan’s sculptures of Caribbean fruits sit on Narrow Way in Hackney Central and Price’s lifelike figures stand outside Hackney Town Hall. As public works of art, they’re free to see, but you can make the most of your time in east London with our guide to some of the best museums and galleries in the area where you can use your pass.

IndividualTiana Clarke Please note this is an example card and not a reflection of the final product

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