This July 9th Art Fund announces its annual Museum of the Year Award. The best museum in the UK will scoop up a generous £100,000. After a year of palpably increased museum attendance and with finalists this impressive, our money’s equally distributed between all of them.
Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, East Sussex
Founded in 1985 by sisters Hilary and Joanna Bourne, Ditchling Museum in East Sussex displays a collection of works from local artists. Designer of the London Underground font, Edward Johnston can be found among his block buddies typographer and sculptor Eric Gill and printer Hilary Pepler. The recipient of a £2.3m grant from HLF, the museum reopened in 2013 following a major renovation project. Transformed by Adam Richards Architects, Ditchling Museum now boasts views over Ditchling.
Hayward Gallery, London
Hailed as one of the world’s most pioneering contemporary art galleries, Southbank Centre based Hayward Gallery hosts an annual programme of ground-breaking exhibitions and events. Championing neglected genres, Hayward Gallery frequently spotlights self-taught artists, architects and fringe artists. An independent and innovate force in the visual arts for over 40 years, Hayward Gallery has become a monument in London’s contemporary landscape.
Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth
In 1511 the warship Mary Rose began life as the darling of Henry VIII’s fleet. After 33 years battling France, Scotland and Brittany she finally succumbed and sunk. Fast forward to 1982 however, and Mary Rose is rediscovered, raised and has been undergoing conversation ever since. She now resides inside the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and has been reunited with precious objects from crew possessions, to skeletons, rosaries and cannons. Finally opened in May 2013, a trip to Mary Rose Museum is a fascinating incision into British history.
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich
Before “Sainsburys” entailed grocery shopping a bit more upmarket then Lidl, the name also referred to a three hundred strong collection of modern and ethnographic art. In 1973, Sir Robert and Lady Lisa Sainsbury donated their generous collection to the University of East Anglia, inaugurating the Sainsbury Centre. Since then, the collection has expanded to embrace artefacts spanning over 5,000 years of human history, most of which are on permanent display.
Tate Britain, London
Last year, London’s renowned Tate Britain was reintroduced to the public. Architects Caruso St John have masterfully transformed nine of the Tate’s galleries among other features, combining new design concepts with the excavation of original elements. The transformed Tate will now cater to its 1.5 million annual visitors with new learning studios, a dedicated schools’ entrance and reception, as well as an elegant members’ area in the Rotunda’s balcony.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield
Establised in 1977 Yorkshire Sculpture Park displays works of sculptor from artists spanning Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Julian Opie to to Joan Miró, James Turrell and Isamu Noguchi. Following a jam packed year including exhibitions from acclaimed artists such as Yinka Shonibare MBE, Amar Kanwar and Hans Josephsohn, 2013 also welcomed Roger Hiorns’ Seizure (2008/2013) a stunning and hugely important addition to YSP. With an active and innovative learning project, YSP goes from strength to strength.
(IMAGES: © Marc Atkins)