News & Insight
1st July 2019
Art Fund Museum of the Year – and the winner is….?
Liz Purchase, Senior Consultant, Arts & Heritage at Philanthropy Company, looks at this year’s Museum of the Year and new possibilities unlocked by the reintroduction of £5M+ grants by the NLHF
This week, the winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year prize will be announced in London, shining a light on the brilliant individual nominees and the UK’s world class cultural sector. With such exceptional museums from across the UK competing for the biggest museum prize in the world, the judges will have their work cut out. What has been achieved by the finalists, Nottingham Contemporary, V&A Dundee, HMS Caroline Belfast, Pitt Rivers Oxford, and St Fagans National History Museum Cardiff, is impressive and inspiring, and something for the UK to shout about. The brilliant and dedicated teams behind-the-scenes have created spaces and experiences that are worthy of international envy and showcase the wealth of talent (both home-grown and international) working in the UK museum sector. Not just talent that creates the physical embodiment of a museum (the building itself and the collections within) but also the talented education and events teams who bring the visitors in and create the audiences of the future; and the talented fundraising and development teams who secure the funding to make it all happen.
It is no surprise that all five of this year’s finalists have received funding from the National Lottery, and that four of the five have been awarded major HLF grants for their shortlisted projects. In the case of V&A Dundee, an HLF grant of £14.1 million enabled the creation of the stunning new museum designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, standing at the centre of a £1 billion transformation of Dundee waterfront. This kind of major project is hugely important to the spirit, morale and economic improvement of a town or city, but without the investment of the National Lottery it is unlikely the people of Nottingham, Dundee, Belfast, Oxford or Cardiff would have seen their museums shortlisted for the prestigious Art Fund prize this year. We wish them good luck and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for them!
In it to win it
Just ahead of the announcement of this year’s winner, is news from the National Lottery Heritage Fund about their major new awards Heritage Horizons. The concept behind the awards is ‘Backing big ideas, unlocking possibilities’ and will see £100 million invested in large-scale heritage projects over the next three years. It will support the Heritage Fund’s vision to ‘create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future’ and is proof that the Heritage Fund is committed to driving forward its new strategic framework. For the heritage sector it’s a welcome boost; with grants of over £5 million now a possibility again, applicants can begin in earnest planning capital campaigns, exciting new projects and shaping all-important fundraising plans. In our experience, a secured Heritage Fund grant can be the main leverage to unlocking the match funding that makes an exciting plan on paper, an important and tangible reality.
Our team of skilled and experienced fundraisers can help you to plan your project and unlock funding; we have significant experience of securing funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and from trusts and foundations for major heritage projects. If you would like to know more about how we can help you realise your plans, contact us for an informal conversation.