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 2014.
This year’s Museum of the Year Prize was presented in July to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The event took place at the National Gallery, hosted by the Art Fund. The Director, Stephen Deuchar who also chaired the panel of judges, introduced the film director Sam Mendes, who presented the prize bowl to founder/executive director of the Park, Peter Murray CBE.
Stephen Deuchar described the winner as follows: ‘A perfect fusion of art and landscape, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park has gone from modest beginnings to one of the finest outdoor museums one might ever imagine. In 2013 it really came of age – with art projects such as Yinka Shonibare’s extraordinary exhibition; the fruits of the expansion and consolidation of the landscape on both sides of the lake; and with the conversion of the chapel to house (as its inaugural exhibition) a major new work by Ai Weiwei.’
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park will also receive a cheque for £100,000.
The finalists for the 2014 Prize were Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, East Sussex; Hayward Gallery, London; The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth; Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich; Tate Britain, London; and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield.
The judging panel chaired by Stephen Deuchar included Sally Bacon, director of the Clore Duffield Foundation; Michael Craig-Martin RA, artist; Wim Pijbes director of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Anna Somers Cocks, chief executive of The Art Newspaper; and the chair is Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund.
For more information, go to www.artfund.org