23 May 2023
The Burrell Collection has been selected as one of five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023, the world’s largest museum prize.
Art Fund annually shortlists five outstanding museums for the 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. The shortlisted museums demonstrate transformational impact, redeveloping their offers with diverse and inspiring stories at their heart and shaping the response to vital issues of today.
The Burrell Collection in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow houses the 9,000-object collection of Sir William and Constance, Lady Burrell. Managed by the charity Glasgow Life, it was officially reopened by King Charles in October 2022 following a major refurbishment and redisplay, which aimed to celebrate diversity through the museum’s rich and varied Collection and create the most accessible, inclusive and sustainable fine and decorative arts museum in the world. The Collection includes one of the UK’s most significant holdings of Chinese art, some of the world’s finest medieval stained glass and tapestries, and paintings by artists including Rembrandt and Degas.
Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said:
We are delighted to be shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023, the world’s largest museum prize. The opening of The Burrell Collection in 1983 was the first demonstration of Glasgow’s commitment to culture-led regeneration. The benefits associated with accessing culture are tangible and the deep joy it can bring is visible every day at the reimagined Burrell Collection. We received great support to develop new accessible displays for this impressive collection, created in partnership with the local community, all housed in a sustainable and stunning listed building.
The Burrell Collection welcomed over 500,000 visitors in the year after its reopening and contributed an economic impact of £20m for Glasgow in its first six months. The redisplay was co-curated with a wide range of community groups to ensure the museum showcases diverse and inclusive perspectives, and the Burrell team also partnered with local schools and a range of community groups to amplify their voices. Over 100 pieces of unique digital interpretation from immersive experiences to interactive games give context and meaning to the collection on a scale and to a quality previously unseen with decorative and fine art collections.
Nearly half of the funding for the £68.25 million project was committed by Glasgow City Council with more than a quarter coming from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and significant donations from The Scottish Government, the UK Government, and from many generous trusts and private donors.
The other four shortlisted museums are Leighton House (London); The MAC (Belfast); Natural History Museum (London); Scapa Flow Museum (Orkney Islands).
The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony at the British Museum in London on 12 July and will receive £120,000, specially increased for 2023 and beyond to mark 120 years of Art Fund supporting museums. £15,000 will be given to each of the four other finalists – bringing the total prize money to £180,000.
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. The judges will visit each of the finalists to help inform their decision-making, while each museum will make the most of being shortlisted over the summer through events and activities for both new and current visitors.
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund said:
Congratulations to The Burrell Collection on being shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023. All five of our finalists are at the top of their game, offering inspirational collections and programmes for their communities and for visitors from across the UK and around the world. From transformational redevelopment to community involvement to addressing the major issues of today, the shortlisted museums may operate at very different scales, but all show astonishing ambition and boundless creativity. Each is a blueprint for future innovation in museums. Visit them if you possibly can.