Each year, the Art Fund hosts the Museum of the Year award. This year, the ceremony will be held at the British Museum. Contenders are the Lapworth Museum, the National Heritage Center for Horseracing & Sporting Art, the Sir John Soane’s Museum, the Tate Modern, and the Hepworth Wakefield. Competition is fierce, and judges will have a hard time determining who will be the winner.
The Art Fund has announced the date of their next award ceremony, in which they will recognize 2017’s Museum of the Year. Last year, the Victoria and Albert Museum was the winner, recognized as holding some of the best exhibitions London has to offer. This year, competition is very strong and who the winner will be is anybody’s guess. The award ceremony will be held on 5 July 2017 at The British Museum and is much anticipated.
So who are the finalists for the 2017 Museum of the Year?
The first is the Lapworth Museum of Geology, which is found in Birmingham. The reason why this museum has been nominated is due to the fact that they have engaged in an expansion project that is nothing short of ambitious. When completed, Lapworth went from an academic institution focusing on limited areas only, to the public facing, dynamic museum that it is today. Visitors to the Lapworth Museum of Geology can now truly immerse themselves in the four billion year old history of planet Earth.
The second nominee is the National Heritage Center for Horseracing & Sporting Art, found in Newmarket. This museum was re-opened in 2016, after it went through a major refurbishment to add exhibition spaces and new galleries. The center is said to be the spiritual home of the sport of horse racing, which is why it also added a facility where racehorses can be retrained.
Next is London’s Sir John Soane’s Museum, which has recently been fully restored. What restoration professionals have been able to do, is make the home look exactly as it did in 1837, when Soane passed away. In so doing, a variety of new spaces have also been opened, where more displays have been added. Furthermore, access has been increased, and the contemporary exhibition program has had a full overhaul, making it more impressive than ever.
The fourth contender is the Tate Modern in London. This museum opened the Switch House in 2016, which made it possible for the exhibition space to be increased tremendously. Furthermore, it enabled the education program to grow as well. In 2016 alone, over six million visitors attended the Tate Modern, enjoying the various exhibitions and collections that display art from all over the world.
The final nominee is the Hepworth Wakefield, found in Wakefield, North Yorkshire. This museum only opened its doors in 2011, making it the newest museum to have ever been nominated. Since it opened its doors, however, it expanded its outreach and learning programs, launched a new sculpture program, and made national headlines with its exhibition program, in which it showcased a wealth of major retrospectives.
A representative for the Art Fund says: “This year’s nominees are some of the best we’ve had in our history. We are so impressed with the uniqueness, collections, and programs of each of these museums that it is going to be very difficult to choose which one truly is the best one. However, we have a fantastic panel of judges ready to make that decision this year, and we really look forward to supporting each of the nominees over the course of this year.”