• July 13, 2023
  • 3 min read

Leighton House is one of four finalists for the 2023 Art Fund Museum of the Year. The Burrell Collection was presented the £120,000 prize – the largest museum prize in the world – by the artist Sir Grayson Perry at a ceremony at the British Museum last night.

Owned by Kensington and Chelsea Council and operating as a public museum since 1900, Leighton House reopened in October 2022 following its transformational ‘Hidden Gem to National Treasure’ redevelopment, led by architectural studio BDP. The museum was shortlisted for the sensitive approach of the restoration as well as the painstaking research intended to recover Leighton’s lost collections. The judges also recognised the inspiring collaborations with contemporary artists and makers including furniture made by displaced Syrian artisans and a striking contemporary mural titled ‘Oneness’.

Art Fund annually shortlists five outstanding museums for Museum of the Year. The 2023 edition celebrates 10 years of Art Fund Museum of the Year, a prize grounded in 50 years of history championing the UK’s 2,500 museums, galleries and heritage sites.

Lead member for Culture, Cllr Emma Will said:

Leighton House is a deserving finalist amongst an incredible short list of museums that go above and beyond to offer the best for their audiences. The museum’s innovative programme of events, outreach and community work aims to provide access to culture, art and history for all. Following this, Leighton House will continue to share its treasures with new audiences. The Art Fund Museum of the Year award celebrates the best of UK museums. With the Natural History Museum also a finalist in this year’s awards, I am very proud that Kensington and Chelsea is home to so many amazing spaces for people to come and enjoy. Thank you to the Art Fund judges!

Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator said:

We would like to congratulate The Burrell Collection on winning Art Fund Museum of the Year. Leighton House is thrilled to have been one of the finalists, being recognised for our transformational redevelopment project and the inspiring collaborations with artists and makers. The public reaction since reopening has been fantastic and we are determined to continue reinventing what a house museum can be.

 The other shortlisted museums were: The MAC (Belfast), Natural History Museum (also Kensington and Chelsea, London) and Scapa Flow Museum (Orkney). The finalists this year all demonstrated transformational impact, redeveloping their offers with diverse and inspiring stories at their heart and responding to vital issues of today.

Each finalist will receive £15,000. Together with £120,000 received by the winning museum, the total prize money for Art Fund Museum of the Year is £180,000, specially increased for 2023 and beyond to mark the 120 years of Art Fund supporting Museums.

The 2023 judging panel, chaired by Art Fund director Jenny Waldman, includes: Larry Achiampong, artist; Mary Beard, historian and broadcaster; Abadesi Osunsade, Art Fund Trustee, author and owner of Hustle Crew, and Laura Pye, Director, National Museums Liverpool.

Image: Aitchison, George – Culture Grid, United Kingdom

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