‘What did you do in the lockdown?’ - Museum of the Year 2021 opens

The £160,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year opens for applications today, with the Covid year the theme.

“The pandemic has seen museums, galleries and historic houses face their greatest challenge in living memory” said Jenny Waldman, Art Fund director can chair of judges. “The doors had to close for much of the last year, but so many museums have found imaginative ways to serve their local communities, connect with new audiences and share their collections digitally. It is nothing short of heroic.

So she is appealing for applications from institutions whatever their scale, and from wherever in the UK, including those who have been forced to close their physical spaces throughout 2020/21, answering three questions:

  • What did you do in the last year that showed imagination and determination?
  • How do you think this made a difference?
  • How will you build on this in the future?

“I would encourage all museums to tell us what has been achieved against the odds, so that we can reward, celebrate and share this incredible work with everyone” Waldman said.

Last year a £200,000 prize was shared by five museums - the Science Museum, Gairloch Museum, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, the South London Gallery and Towner Eastbourne – but this year’s awards will revert to a single first prize of £100,000 with enhanced prizes of £15,000 each for four runners up, £5,000 more than in previous years.

The closing date for applications is June 1 with a shortlist announced in mid-July and the winner revealed in the autumn. 

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