It is with great excitement that we announce that Sir John Soane’s Museum has been shortlisted as one of the five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017, the world’s largest and most prestigious prize for museums.
The announcement was made this evening (27 April 2017) by Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund’s Director, at an event at the British Museum. The other nominated museums are: The Lapworth Museum of Geology, Birmingham; The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, Newmarket; Tate Modern, London; and The Hepworth Wakefield. This year’s jury, chaired by Dr Stephen Deuchar CBE, comprises: Professor Richard Deacon CBE; Dr Hartwig Fischer; Munira Mirza; and Jo Whiley.
This is a wonderful honour for us. It comes following a hugely successful 2016 which saw the completion of 7 years of major restoration work as part of our Opening Up the Soane project, and the reopening to visitors of Soane interiors that had been lost. Not only are we now a third bigger with 10% of the art collection back on display, the Museum now looks exactly how Soane intended for the first time in 160 years. We also met our £6million fundraising target as part of the Catalyst: Endowment challenge, a major achievement for a museum of our size. Both of these milestones came alongside a very strong year of events, exhibitions and projects, with highlights including Sarah Lucas: POWER IN WOMAN, and the launch of Explore Soane, an online resouorce allowing people from around the world to visit from the comfort of their own homes thanks to the latest 3D-scanning technology.
The next couple of months will be a very exciting time for us; in the coming days we will launch our public engagement campaign with the aim to rally our support and to demonstrate to the judges the deep affection many have for our Museum. The winning museum will then be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday 5 July 2017. We would like to express our thanks at this early stage for your ongoing support of Sir John Soane’s Museum.