Lapworth Museum Of Geology Shortlisted For £100,000 Art Fund Museum Of The Year 2017

Birmingham’s Lapworth Museum of Geology is among 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 University of Birmingham’s Lapworth museum is home to one of the UK’s most outstanding geological collections, with the finest array of fossils, rocks and minerals in the Midlands. Last year saw a significant leap forward for the Lapworth, which received a transformational £2.7million regeneration and redevelopment to make the former academic museum accessible to thousands of new visitors.

The shortlist 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.
The other museum finalists are: The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, Newmarket; Sir John Soane’s Museum, London; Tate Modern, London; and The Hepworth Wakefield.

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. This year’s jury, chaired by Dr Stephen Deuchar CBE, comprises: Professor Richard Deacon CBE; Dr Hartwig Fischer; Munira Mirza; and Jo Whiley.
Jon Clatworthy, Director of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, said:

We are absolutely delighted to receive this important recognition. The last year has been truly transformative, propelling the museum into the 21st century and making it accessible to a diverse new audience. The renovation of the space combined with a focus on digital technologies and interactive displays significantly enhances our public engagement and schools outreach with important scientific collections to help bring the story of evolution to life. Our visitors can now walk through time and gain unique insight into 4.5 billion years of history.
We believe that this interface between academic research in geology and the general public is truly unique: our academic researchers are pioneering, working as part of international teams to make new discoveries and develop our understanding of evolution. We look forward to welcoming more and more visitors to showcase the fantastic collections of fossils and minerals and inspire a new generation of scientists!

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.

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