The Burrell Collection is Museum of The Year 2023
The Burrell Collection was announced as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023 on Wednesday evening (13 July 2023) at a ceremony at the British Museum in London and on the BBC.
Duncan Dornan, Head of Museums and Collections for Glasgow Life, was presented with the £120,000 prize – the largest museum prize in the world – by the artist Sir Grayson Perry at a ceremony at the British Museum, London.
The Burrell Collection in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow, houses the 9,000-object collection of Sir William and Constance 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.
Jenny Waldman, Art Fund director and chair of the judges for Art Fund Museum of the Year, said:
“The Burrell Collection is extraordinary – a world-class collection displayed in an inspirational building, in harmony with the surrounding landscape of Pollok Country Park. Reopened in 2022, the sensitive renovation and collection redisplay invite exploration and delight, with innovative digital displays offering new ways of understanding the art and objects in the museum’s light, welcoming spaces. All this was achieved with a strong shared purpose and with the involvement of local community groups in Glasgow. Huge congratulations to the talented team at the Burrell Collection for winning Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023 and to those who invest in supporting its important work. Thanks to them this museum is truly for everyone to enjoy.”
Mary Beard, historian, broadcaster and judge for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023, said:
“The Burrell Collection is a treasure trove of objects to discover, with everything from one of the UK’s most important collections of Chinese art, to medieval tapestries and stained glass, and works of art by Rembrandt, Degas and more. They have realised, with real rigour and imagination, the true depth of what it means for a museum to be accessible. I would encourage everyone to go and experience it.”
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 diverse 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.
Duncan Dornan, Head of Glasgow Life Museums, said: “It is an honour to be the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023. It is recognition of the dedication, skill and imagination hundreds of people gave to the project and of the wonderful staff and volunteers who make a visit very special.
“The Burrell Collection is a people’s museum that will continue working closely with everyone in Glasgow on more amazing projects and to enhance the diverse public and schools programme we offer.
“It is endorsement of Glasgow Life’s approach at The Burrell Collection of working with local people to inform the refurbishment of one of the world’s greatest collections of fine and decorative arts.
“Becoming The Art Fund Museum of the Year will help make The Burrell Collection even more accessible, allowing visitors to engage in culture in a way that is meaningful to them. We are excited to welcome them to Pollok Country Park.”
The winner was one of five finalists. The other shortlisted museums are: Leighton House (London), The MAC (Belfast), Natural History Museum (London) and Scapa Flow Museum (Orkney). Each finalist will receive £15,000. Together with £120,000 received by the winning museum, the total prize money for Art Fund Museum of the Year is £180,000, specially increased for 2023 and beyond to mark the 120 years of Art Fund supporting museums.
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 prize is funded thanks to the generosity of Art Fund’s members who buy a National Art Pass. Pass holders enjoy discounts and benefits at the shortlisted museums and hundreds of museums and galleries across the UK.
Art Fund annually shortlists five outstanding museums for 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.
New research commissioned to mark 10 years of Art Fund Museum of the Year found that nomination for the prize helped museums attract visitors, positively impacted community cohesion and engagement, and unlocked additional public and private funding.
Art Fund has also collaborated with Google Arts & Culture to present the last decade of the prize. A new online experience gives an exclusive overview of the shortlisted and winning museums. The stories, rich in imagery and insight from museums and judges, showcase previous winners ranging from Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2014 winner) to St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff (2019 winner) and Horniman Museum and Gardens, London (2022 winner).
Image: Keeper of The Burrell Collection, Dr. Samuel Gallacher