On 27th April Art Fund announced that the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art is one of the five museums which have been selected as finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017, the world’s largest and most prestigious prize for museums.
The museums are: The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, Newmarket, The Lapworth Museum of Geology, Birmingham;; Sir John Soane’s Museum, London; Tate Modern, London; and The Hepworth Wakefield.
The announcement was made by Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund’s Director, at an event at the British Museum. It was followed by a discussion about the role of museums with Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, member of the 2017 jury; Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016; and Sarah Munro, Director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
This year’s jury, chaired by Dr Stephen Deuchar CBE, comprises: Professor Richard Deacon CBE; Dr Hartwig Fischer; Munira Mirza; and Jo Whiley.
The winning museum, which will receive £100,000, will be announced at a ceremony at the British Museum on Wednesday 5 July 2017. In addition, for the first time this year, the other shortlisted museums will receive £10,000 each in recognition of their achievements.
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Stephen Deuchar said: ‘Each of these museums has had a remarkable year, reaching - in a range of ways - new heights in their efforts to serve and inspire their visitors. Whether unveiling new buildings, galleries, displays or public programmes, all the finalists have shown a real commitment to innovation and experimentation, offering fresh perspectives and news ways of seeing and understanding their collections’.
Chris Garibaldi, Director National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art:
"We are thrilled and indeed honoured to have been selected as a finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017. It is wonderful to be one of just five museums and galleries across the U.K. to have been shortlisted and we are very proud to have been included in the selection. It is recognition of so much hard work on the part of our fantastic staff, volunteers, Trustees and the many supporters in the racing industry who have put their faith in the project over many years.
The redevelopment project which has resulted in the creation of a world class tourist attraction in the new National Heritage Centre that is celebratory of our sport’s past, also celebrates the present and safeguards its future. We hope the racing industry will join us in celebrating this magnificent achievement - to reach the shortlist is a very significant accolade in its own right but we would like everyone to visit the National Heritage Centre and contribute to the campaign from now until the end of June to say why they think we should win.
This project has never been just about restoring important heritage buildings and providing much improved galleries for our collections, it is about putting the community at the heart of everything we do and celebrating what makes our industry unique - it is an incredible 'feather in the cap' of racing for its national museum to be included in this shortlist – the first time in the fourteen year history of the prize for a sporting museum to be selected."
This year Art Fund is asking visitors to the five finalists to share their best museum stories, reviews, photos, memories and moments using @artfund #museumoftheyear