The Hepworth Wakefield has fought off tough competition to take the converted title of Museum of the Year 2017.
What the judges said
The competition judges praised the gallery for a year of “breathtaking” exhibitions, booming visitor numbers and the creation of an important award for contemporary sculpture.
The gallery celebrated its fifth birthday last year and saw a 21% rise in visitors following its National Lottery funded revamp. It launched a major new award for British sculpture and staged exhibitions by Martin Parr, Stanley Spencer and Anthea Hamilton.
The impact of the National Lottery
The Hepworth Wakefield, which takes home £100,000 prize money, joins fourteen previous winners of Museum of the Year (previously the Art Fund Prize and Gulbenkin Prize) that are National Lottery-funded. They include the Scottish National Gallery which won in 2004, the British Museum in 2011 and last year’s winner, the V&A Museum.
In fact, four of the five shortlisted contenders of this year’s prize were all National Lottery funded. The Lapworth Museum of Geology; the National centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art; and the Sir John Soane’s Museum were all in the running, and all receive £10,000 as runners-up.