In Pictures: Ten museums compete for the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award 2013

By Culture24 Reporter | 03 April 2013

In Pictures: A look at the ten museums hoping to win the £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year Award 2013...

A photo of a museum home in a white brick building
Narberth Museum, Pembrokeshire

Having raised funds to save it in 2003, a hardy band of volunteers have re-established Narberth’s history epicentre – now in a renovated former industrial warehouse – in style.

They say: "This is a wonderful way of raising the profile of our museum and showcasing what we've achieved in 2012" – Pauline Griffiths, Curator

A photo of a large brick museum on a waterfront
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

Dwarfing the River Tyne’s South Bank, BALTIC’s revolving exhibitions and locally-focused studios have made it a major international arts force.

They say: "As a still young institution, BALTIC is continuing to engage new audiences in its programmes of international contemporary art through innovative practices and partnerships. To have that work recognised in this way is tremendous" – Godfrey Worsdale, Director

A photo of a young girl sniffing flowers in a garden
© Laura Mtungwazi
Horniman Museum and Gardens, London

The popular south London home of important anthropological and musical collections can also boast more than 16 acres of gardens, an aquarium, a natural history gallery and an imaginative exhibitions programme.

They say: "After 10 years of development we have finally achieved the physical and intellectual unification of the Museum and Gardens...we can now offer an extraordinary and unified view of the world to inspire current and future generations" – Janet Vitmayer, Chief Executive

A photo of a couple sitting in a gallery lit by purple surrounded by cases full of exhibits
Preston Park Museum and Grounds, Stockton-on-Tees

A relaunch in 2012 and its Diamond Jubilee birthday has given Preston Park the impetus to create a life-long learning programme, inspired by a collection of more than 100,000 objects.

They say: "Preston Park has a special place in many people’s hearts and it has been a delight to see residents and visitors alike enjoy what it has to offer since it reopened" – Councillor Ken Dixon, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture

A photo of a man showing a slab of rock to two children inside a museum
© Tim Stubbings
The Beaney, Canterbury

Around 300,000 people are thought to have visited Canterbury’s central museum since it reopened last September following a £14 million transformation of the 114-year-old building.
 
They say: "The Beaney is somewhere people feel at home, part of people's lives, a special and inspirational museum which feeds the imagination and stimulates creativity" – Janice McGuinness, Head of Culture and Enterprise

A photo of a workshop and cases full of sculptures inside a museum gallery
The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield

Wakefield’s acclaimed Barbara Hepworth temple enjoyed a hugely successful first full year in 2012.

They say: "It's gratifying to be recognised for the inventive ways in which we work with our collection and contemporary artists to engage a wide audience who return frequently" – Simon Wallis, Director

A photo of the inside of an art gallery full of paintings
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

England’s first purpose-built public art gallery landmark entered its third century in 2012, and its aim to engage visitors not normally acclimatised to an Old Masters gallery was rewarded 149,000 times over.

They say: "My staff and I work incredibly hard to make it as interesting, as unique, as accessible, and as effective in delivering the whole package of engagement with art as we possibly can - something we know can change lives" – Ian Dejardin, Director

a photo of the exterior of Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow
© Glasgow City Council
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

In a sterling year, one of Glasgow’s finest museums hosted a major retrospective of Italian art, an AC/DC exhibition and the launch of the city’s 2018 Youth Olympic Games bid.

They say: "We work incredibly hard providing temporary exhibitions, spectacular events and classes that really do offer something for everyone" – Councillor Archie Graham, Chair, Glasgow Life

A photo of a series of stained glass pieces inside a museum
William Morris Gallery, London

Since reopening last August, the homage to one of the country’s design forefathers has welcomed 100,000 visitors to a £5 million redevelopment featuring a revered collection and an engaging programme.

They say: "We're up against some big names, but I don't think that will phase anyone who's been a part of the project: with such phenomenal feedback from critics and residents alike I think we've got as good a chance as any of the contenders when it comes to taking home the prize" – Councillor Ahsan Khan, Waltham Forest Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing

A photo of a young man staring at small objects inside a museum case
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge
The completion of a two-year development returned an incredible collection of art and archaeology to public view, and the 2012 programme, Unlimited Global Alchemy, was part of the Paralympic programme.

They say: "We have changed from being a Victorian museum focused on supporting research, into a welcoming, beautifully-designed museum where young and old alike can experience our myriad treasures and astonishing stories" – Dr Nicholas Thomas, Director


  • The winner of The Art Fund Museum of the Year Award will be announced on June 4 2013. Visit artfund.org/prize for more.
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