The Lapworth Museum of Geology has been named a runner up in Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017
At a formal ceremony at the British Museum the Lapworth Museum of Geology has been named as Runner-Up in the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017.
The honour, previously won by the V&A and the British Museum, is the world’s largest and most prestigious prize for museums. The 2017 prize was won by The Hepworth Gallery.
Museum director Jon Clatworthy said: “To be a runner-up is a fantastic honour for us here at the Lapworth Museum of Geology. I’d like to extend my congratulations to Hepworth Gallery and the team there, who richly deserve the title.
“The last two years represent a transformative redevelopment which has allowed us to reach out to the wider community. I am thrilled that every day I work in an environment now where we see families and school parties engaging with the Lapworth, as well as students and academics. I am delighted that the Art Fund has seen the value of this work, which has been carried out by so many people here.”
Other runners-up included the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, Newmarket; Sir John Soane’s Museum, London; and Tate Modern, London. The University of Birmingham’s Lapworth Museum is home to one of the UK’s most outstanding geological collections, with an outstanding array of fossils, rocks and dinosaur bones. Last year saw a significant leap forward for the Lapworth, which received a transformational £2.7million regeneration and redevelopment to make the former academic museum accessible to thousands of new visitors. This is the culmination of a remarkable year for the Lapworth, in which visitor numbers have more than doubled and the museum being consistently named in the city’s top ten visitor attractions. Last week, the Lapworth was named as a National Portfolio Organisation by Arts Council England, which includes a major funding grant of £418,984 over the next four years. This comes on the heels of visits by senior Birmingham cultural leaders, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and the Director General of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Helen Judge.
Notes to editors
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The Lapworth Museum of Geology, Birmingham
Dating back to 1880, The Lapworth Museum of Geology is one of the leading geological museums in the UK, with the largest collection of its kind in the Midlands. The museum re-opened in June 2016 after a £2.7 million redevelopment and expansion which transformed an academic university museum into a major new public attraction for Birmingham and beyond. It has helped bring to life internationally-significant scientific collections of over 250,000 specimens, ranging from dinosaur skeletons to volcanic rocks. The Museum’s core is now restored to its original 1920s grandeur and three new galleries have been unveiled, while beautifully designed, interactive displays and new visitor facilities have been created, including a state-of-the-art education room. Since re-opening, the museum has expanded its volunteer programme, diversified its audiences and education offering, and doubled visitor numbers.
Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. In the past five years alone Art Fund has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections. It works with over 700 museums and galleries across the UK and helps museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, including ARTIST ROOMS, and makes additional grants to support the training and professional development of curators. Art Fund is independently funded, with the core of its income provided by 123,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions. In addition to grant-giving, Art Fund’s support for museums includes the annual Art Fund Museum of the Year, a publications programme and a range of digital platforms. Find out more about Art Fund and the National Art Pass.
About Art Fund Museum of the Year
Art Fund has supported Museum of the Year since 2008. Its forerunner was the Prize for Museums and Galleries, administered by the Museum Prize Trust and sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation from 2003-2007. The prize champions what museums do, encourages more people to visit and gets to the heart of what makes a truly outstanding museum. The judges present the prize to the museum or gallery that has best met some or all of the following criteria:
Undertaken projects that will provide a lasting legacy or have a transformative effect on the museum
Brought its collections to life for audiences in exceptional ways – engaging, inspiring and extending public understanding
Delivered an innovative programme of audience development, learning or outreach
Clearly won the support and enthusiasm of its visitors and users. Winners over the past six years were the V&A (2016), The Whitworth (2015), Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2014), William Morris Gallery (2013), Royal Albert Memorial Museum (2012) and the British Museum (2011).