The Museum Prize Trust is a charitable company set up in 2001 to create one major annual Prize for museums and galleries in the UK. National Heritage, the Museums Association, The Art Fund and the Campaign for Museums agreed to put aside award schemes they formerly ran (including National Heritage’s Museum of the Year) and lend their support to a single major Prize.
In addition to the Prize for Museums and Galleries first awarded in 2003, the Trust launched the Clore Award for Museum Learning in 2011, and awarded the Unsung Museum Heroes Award in 2012 – the tenth anniversary year of the Prize.
The Museum Prize is sponsored by the Art Fund and is now known as the Museum of the Year 2015.
The Whitworth in Manchester has won the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for the Museum of the Year 2015. The Whitworth underwent the biggest physical transformation in its 125-year history in 2014. Through its impressive £15m reinvention, the gallery has redefined the way that it engages with its public, connecting the building and surrounding park to create a space with a strong sense of openness and invitation.
Stephen Deuchar, chair of the judges and director of the Art Fund, said: ‘The Whitworth's transformation has been one of the great museum achievements of recent years. It truly feels like a museum of the future.’
The Prize bowl and cheque for £100,000 was presented to the Director of the Whitworth, Maria Balshaw, at a special event at Tate Modern.
This year’s judging panel was chaired by Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund and included: Michael Landy, artist, Alice Rawsthorn, design critic and author, Fiammetta Rocco, books and arts editor of The Economist and Axel Rüger, director of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
The award-winning photographer, Martin Parr, was the official Museum of the Year 2015 photographer and has created a collection of photographs celebrating our finalists. He also Judged the Museum of the Year Photography exhibition.
To see Martin Parr’s photographs and the winning entry in the competition, go to www.artfund.org.