The search is on for the next Art Fund Museum of the Year

  • Published 12 December 2016

Applications opened today for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017, the largest arts award in Britain and the biggest museum prize in the world. The £100,000 prize is for the best museum or gallery in the UK.


Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar also announced today a 40% increase in total prize money to £140,000. In addition to £100,000 awarded to the winning museum, for the first time each of the shortlisted museums will receive £10,000.

In 2016, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge presented the prize to the V&A, which triumphed for its ability to ‘reach and affect the lives of a diverse national audience’. In 2015, The Whitworth, Manchester was praised as ‘a museum of the future’. But who will be crowned Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017?

That will be up to the judging panel, which will be Richard Deacon, artist; Hartwig Fischer, Director, British Museum; Munira Mirza, former Deputy Mayor of London for Education and Culture: and Jo Whiley, BBC Radio 2 DJ and presenter. The panel, chaired by Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar, will consider entries from all eligible entrants across the UK before announcing a shortlist of finalist museums in April 2017. The award ceremony will take place on the 5 July 2017 in the spectacular setting of the Great Court of the British Museum, before an invited audience of leading figures from the fields of culture and museums.

Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said: ‘In these uncertain times, museums are a trusted public realm, whose collections and programmes can help people make sense of the world we live in, and where we are going. Whatever the challenges of the moment, museums and galleries across the UK are forces of innovation, driven by some of the best cultural leaders anywhere. I expect the competition for shortlisting to be intense.’

Tim Reeve, acting director of the V&A, said: ‘We were all absolutely thrilled to win the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 and for our work to be acknowledged by such an esteemed jury. We are excited to put the prize fund towards developing a new strategy that will make our collections even more widely available to those unable to visit the V&A’s sites.’

Find out how to apply for the prize – applications close on 7 February 2017 at 12noon.

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