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Art Fund Prize - Museum of the Year 2015 Open to Entries

The purpose of The Art Fund Prize (formerly the Gulbenkian Prize) for museums and galleries is to recognise and stimulate originality and excellence in museums and galleries in the UK, and increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer.

Past winners of the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year include the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2014), the William Morris Gallery, London (2013), the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (2012), the British Museum, London (2011) and even the South East's very own Mary Rose Museum (2013).

A single award of £100,000 is presented to a museum or gallery whose entry, in the opinion of the judges, best meets the Prize criteria through a project completed or mainly undertaken in the previous calendar year.

The Prize is open to all museums and galleries in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The Trustees normally expect applicants to be participants in the accreditation scheme operated by Arts Council England.

Exceptions will be considered where organisations are in the public sector, or have charitable status, and whose activities are based on the care and interpretation of collections of historical, artistic or scientific interest. The Trustees' decision on eligibility is final. Applicants must be open for at least half the week at least six months of the year.

Only one entry may be submitted per individual museum or gallery. Where an organisation operates several museums and galleries, an entry may be submitted for each, but in drawing up the long-list, judges will not select more than one entry from the same multi-site service. Museums can enter in consecutive years but a museum that has won cannot apply for another three years after the year of winning. Entries may be submitted on behalf of collaborative projects between one or more organisations, but the entrant will be taken to be the lead museum or gallery 'in association with' its partners.

The single award of £100,000 will be presented to the museum or gallery whose entry, in the opinion of the judges, 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;
  • demonstrated excellence, innovation and imagination;
  • brought its collections to life for audiences - engaging, inspiring and extending public understanding;
  • delivered an original learning and outreach programme; and
  • clearly won the support and enthusiasm of its visitors and users.

Specific projects or achievements which could be drawn out in the application can include (but are not restricted to):

  • new exhibitions, collection displays, buildings or refurbishments;
  • significant acquisitions, their interpretation and use;
  • education, audience development and outreach work;
  • learning programmes that develop the skills, knowledge, values and enjoyment of children and young people;
  • collection conservation projects;
  • imaginative use of new technology or digital media; or
  • substantial programmes of modernisation, reorganisation or reinterpretation that have had a transformative effect.

The deadline for applications under the 2015 round is 4 February 2015.  For more information, visit the Art Fund website.