About the Prize

Art Fund Museum of the Year celebrates museums and galleries across the UK – annually awarding one outstanding winner £100,000.

Cabinet of Curiosities gallery at the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Cabinet of Curiosities gallery at the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Art Fund Museum of the Year champions what museums do, encourages more people to visit, and gets to the heart of what makes a truly outstanding museum. The judges present the prize to the museum or gallery that has best achieved some or all of the following criteria:

  • Undertaken projects that will provide a lasting legacy or have a transformative effect on the museum.
  • Brought its collections to life for audiences – engaging, inspiring and extending public understanding.
  • Delivered an original audience development, learning or outreach programme.
  • Clearly won the support and enthusiasm of its visitors and users.

The 2016 winner was the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In the words of Art Fund director, Stephen Deuchar, chair of judging panel: 'It was already one of the best-loved museums in the country: this year it has indisputably become one of the best museums in the world.'


For the first time, in 2016 we offered bursaries to Museum of the Year finalists who required financial support to help them make the most of their public engagement campaigns. We are aware that museums can benefit hugely from being shortlisted, but that marketing and communications can be a challenge to resource. Find out more in our information pack for applicants.

Key dates

  • 9 December 2015 – applications open
  • 10 February 2016 – application deadline
  • 29 April 2016 – shortlist of finalists is announced
  • May and June 2016 – judging panel visit finalists
  • 6 July 2016 – Museum of the Year 2016 winner announced at the Natural History Museum, London