Prestigious Art Fund prize awarded to two Scottish museums

13 October 2020
Exploring the collections at Aberdeen Art Gallery
Aberdeen Art Gallery and Gairloch Museum have been announced as two of the five winners of the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020 award, the most prestigious museum prize in the world.

In a unique edition of the prize and in recognition of the unprecedented challenges that all museums face this year, five winning museums have been named. They will equally share the £200,000 award, a 40% rise over previous years. 

The winning museums are:

  • Aberdeen Art Gallery
  • Gairloch Museum
  • Science Museum (London)
  • South London Gallery (London)
  • Towner Eastbourne (Eastbourne, England)

They are awarded based on their achievements in 2019–20.

'Welcome back' present

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson, said: “Covid-19 abruptly halted the fantastic momentum that had built since Aberdeen Art Gallery re-opened in November 2019 following the redevelopment. We welcomed over 100,000 visitors in under 100 days and then suddenly, we were closed again. Being a Museum of the Year winner is the best ‘welcome back’ present imaginable.  

“The redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery has been a transformational project not just for the building, but for also for the city. In November last year we experienced the powerful affection with which visitors reconnected with the building and their favourite artworks, like old friends – transformed, but reassuringly familiar - and felt the surge of civic pride. And now in these days of Covid restrictions, we are grateful that our Gallery is open for inspiration – a place for everyone to enjoy.”

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Visit the Aberdeen Art Gallery website here.

Gairloch Museum

Located in the western Scottish Highlands, Gairloch Museum opened in 1977 in a converted farm steading. 2019 was a transformational year for the museum, as they changed their name, home, displays and model, including moving to a repurposed nuclear bunker.

The transformation of the building from village eyesore to 5* attraction and community hub was the culmination of an 8-year, £2.4 million redevelopment project powered by more than 120 volunteers from across the parish.

Gairloch Museum Board of Trustees

Renowned primarily for its social history collection, the museum display also includes the first ancient carved Pictish stone found on the west coast mainland and the enormous Fresnel lens of Rubh Re lighthouse. Find out more on their website.

Want to discover more about Scotland's past? Try History Scotland magazine - check out our special offers here.

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