Duncan Dornan from Glasgow Life accepted the prize Sir Grayson Perry
The Burrell Collection in Glasgow has won the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year award, the largest museum prize in the world, earning the institution a £120,000 prize. The Glasgow-based venue triumphed over stiff competition, such as London’s 142-year-old Natural History Museum. The victory is particularly special as the award is celebrating a decade of honouring cultural establishments across the UK.
Four decades ago, the Burrell Collection began Glasgow’s metamorphosis into a cultural centre, and its recent multi-million-pound renovation has drawn substantial acclaim. Nestled in the heart of Pollok Country Park, the collection’s £68 million refurbishment necessitated a six-year closure before reopening in March of the previous year. The reopening attracted more than half a million visitors in its first year, adding £20m to Glasgow’s economy in the first six months alone.
Duncan Dornan, head of museums and collections for Glasgow Life, accepted the prize from artist Sir Grayson Perry during a ceremony held at the British Museum in London. Art Fund Director, Jenny Waldman, commended the museum for its “sensitive renovation” and “innovative digital displays.”
Following the renovation, the gallery space expanded by over a third, revealing unique items not seen for many years. The museum now hosts over 90 digital displays, offering visitors immersive and interactive experiences. These exhibits were co-created with various community groups, showcasing a diversity of perspectives.
The Burrell Collection Photograph: Janie Airey/Art Fund/PA
But the Burrell Collection isn’t the only Scottish attraction to receive a financial award from the Art Fund. The four other shortlisted venues, including Orkney’s Scapa Flow Museum, will each receive £15,000, bringing this year’s total prize pool to £180,000. This comes as the Art Fund is marking its 120th anniversary of supporting museums.
The list of contenders for this year’s award also featured the Natural History Museum and Leighton House in London, as well as The MAC in Belfast. The esteemed judging panel included artist Larry Achiampong, author Abadesi Osunsade, director of National Museums Liverpool Laura Pye, historian Mary Beard, and Jenny Waldman, the director of the Art Fund.