Ten Art Fund Prize winners
- 20 June 2012
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter is the latest winner of Art Fund Prize. Discover the ten institutions that have been named Museum of the Year since the Prize began in 2003.
2003: Galleries of Justice Museum, Nottingham
Once the base of the Sheriff of Nottingham, the city's old courthouse and gaol are now home to a museum of crime and punishment, featuring a permanent exhibition dedicated to Robin Hood. The winner of the inaugural prize also boasts a supernatural claim to fame: it was recently named the most haunted building in the UK.
2004: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
The first Scottish institution to win the prize boasts a collection of over 5,000 items of 20th-century art, including works by Picasso, Freud, Warhol and more. SNGMA was named Museum of the Year for Landform, a project which transformed the gallery's front lawn into a giant landscape sculpture by Charles Jencks.
2005: Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenafon
Set in a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site, this fully functional South Welsh coal mine doubles up as the country's national coal museum. Highlights of a visit to Big Pit include the Pithead Baths building, which tells the story of coal mining in Wales, and the underground tour 90 metres down the mineshaft.
2006: SS Great Britain, Bristol
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was voted the second greatest Briton of all time, and the SS Great Britain was one of his greatest achievements. Today the ship is a museum of its own history - a living tribute to the first great ocean liner, described at its launch as 'the greatest experiment since the creation'.
2007: Pallant House Gallery, West Sussex
This Grade 1 Listed Chichester townhouse was given a new lease of life by a daring contemporary extension, earning the gallery the title of Museum of the Year in 2007. The Pallant House collection is one of the country's most important holdings of modern British art, featuring works by Frank Auerbach, Walter Sickert and others.
2008: The Lightbox, Surrey
Designed by Marks Barfield Architects, the team behind the London Eye, this stunning building in the heart of Woking is home to some fantastic works of Modern British art. The Ingram Collection, on long-term loan to the gallery from local businessman Chris Ingram, is complemented by a lively programme of exhibitions and displays.
2009: Wedgwood Museum, Staffordshire
Josiah Wedgwood was one of the great industrialists, and the company he founded over 250 years ago has left a lasting legacy in British culture. Located in the heart of the area known as The Potteries, the Wedgwood Museum is home to one of the world's greatest ceramics collection, housed in the gorgeous purpose-built building that won it the 2009 Prize.
2010: Ulster Museum, Belfast
The breathtaking brutalist exterior of Northern Ireland's largest museum shelters an encyclopaedic collection, which reopened the public on its 80th anniversary following a £12m renovation project. Highlights of the collection include a gallery of 1960s art and a comprehensive herbarium, and its wide-ranging exhibits range from local history to fine art.
2011: British Museum, London
Britain's most visited museum was named Museum of the Year after the runaway success of its landmark project, A History of the World. Led by the museum's Director, Neil MacGregor, the radio series featured 100 episodes, each examining one object from the British Museum collection to tell the history of humanity from the ice age to the present.
2012: Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Devon
This beautiful Victorian museum in Exeter has wowed hundreds of thousands of visitors with its dramatically reinterpreted displays since it reopened in 2011. A £24 million renovation brought cutting-edge curation to the million objects in RAMM's collection, giving unparalleled insight to popular exhibits from Frith portraits to Gerald the giraffe.