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Arts & Culture

Learn about the world’s largest museum prize and its history

A colourful collage image with five museums building in a row
Art Fund Museum of the Year, shortlist, '23

What makes a great museum? It might be an inspiring art collection. Or a sanctuary to pause and reflect. Or a place for activism, debate, and representation of local communities. Museums offer all this and more.

That’s why Art Fund Museum of the Year shines a spotlight on museums at the very top of their game. Thanks to the partnership with Google Arts and Culture we're now able to share this with the world.

For the first time, audiences can explore the fantastic work museums and art galleries have been doing across the UK over the past ten years, through a brand new online experience combining photography, videos and curated stories that deep-dive into the past decade of the Art Fund Museum of the Year initiative, and also announces the new 2023 shortlists!

The shortlisted museums are: 

  • The Burrell Collection (Glasgow)
  • Leighton House (London)
  • The MAC (Belfast)
  • Natural History Museum (London)
  • Scapa Flow Museum (Orkney)

You can learn about the 2022 winner, the Horniman Museum & Gardens, known for its extensive natural history collections, or the 2019 winner, St Fagans National Museum of History, committed to representing its local Welsh community and cultural heritage.

A photograph of the interior hall  of Horniman Museum and Gardens. With artworks hanging from the ceiling

Interior of Horniman Museum and Gardens, Emli Bendixe, 2022

Perhaps you want to travel through Yorkshire’s famous sculpture park, Cornwall’s coastal gallery Tate St Ives or learn about the first ever winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2013, the William Morris Gallery. You can now discover the innovation and evolution of museums and galleries across the UK like never before.

: A landscape photograph showing a black sculpture on the ground, with trees and blue sky behind

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, black stone sculpture, Mark Atkins

But, what makes a museum great today? From transformational redevelopment to community involvement or addressing the major issues of our current climate, the new five shortlisted museums for 2023 may operate at different scales, but they all show astonishing levels of ambition and creativity. Each is a blueprint for future innovation in museums.

The judges present the prize to the museum or gallery that has shown how their achievements in the preceding year stand out, what makes their work innovative, and what impact they have had on audiences. The winning museum will be announced on 12 July. In the meantime, find out more on Google Arts and Culture.

A collage of ten museums and galleries buildings that have won the prize over the past ten years.

Ten year composite of all Museum winners, Art Fund

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