The Art Fund has announced the five-strong shortlist for Museum of the Year 2016. This year’s venues are: Arnolfini, Bethlem Museum of the Mind, Jupiter Artland, Victoria and Albert Museum, and York Art Gallery.
The annual award of £100,000 for a museum that ‘has shown exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement’ will be presented to the winning institution on 6 July at the Natural History Museum.
The award’s judging panel is composed of curator and art historian Gus Casely-Hayford, BBC arts editor Will Gompertz, professor Ludmilla Jordanova, artist Cornelia Parker and Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar, who will chair the panel.
“Each one of these five museums is outstanding – not just for the collections they display, but for the people who work there, and the visitors whose lives they can change,” said Deuchar.
“Whether reaching audiences of thousands or millions, the best museums turn objects into culture, put audiences at the heart of their work, and engage with issues of the moment. This shortlist shows why and how UK museums lead the world.”
Ahead of the Museum of the Year announcement, a parallel competition, launched today, sees members of the public invited to upload their own pictures of their favourite museum, with the photographer Rankin selecting one image per institution to go forward for a public vote.
The shortlisted museums
Arnolfini, Bristol – under the new leadership of Kate Brindley since 2014, the interdisciplinary contemporary arts space based on Bristol’s harbourside celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015 through a ‘year of rediscovery,’ transforming the way the institution engages with its pubic and educational institutions in the city.
Bethlem Museum of the Mind, London – recently relocated to the impressive art deco building within the UK’s oldest psychiatric institution, Bethlem Royal Hospital, the museum of the mind has developed its art and off-site public projects alongside its extensive archive of objects that trace the history of mental health care and treatment.
Jupiter Artland, West Lothian – based on the outskirts of Edinburgh, this sculpture park and gallery founded by art collectors founded by Robert and Nicky Wilson within the grounds of a Jacobean Manor has been getting increasingly confident in its commissioning of new works, both permanent and temporary.
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London – the V&A’s extensive collection and touring programmes have been complemented by a major restoration project that has seen seven of the museum’s prominent galleries re-displayed, with reinterpretations of several of their renowned collections.
York Art Gallery, Yorkshire – reopening to controversy in 2015, following a decision to charge entry fees to the gallery after a major £8million development programme, York Art Gallery now boasts 60% more exhibition space and has brought to centre stage its previously hidden collection of British Studio Ceramics.
1. Bethlem Gallery and Museum with statues ‘Raving and Melancholy Madness’ by Caius Gabriel Cibber
2. Arnolfini. Image: Polly Braden
3. V&A. Image: Polly Braden
4. Jupiter Artland Education Foundation, Little Sparks, 2014. Courtesy of Jupiter Artland
5. York Art Gallery (c) Giles Rocholl Photography