The Horniman Museum in South London, home to a famously badly stuffed walrus has won the world’s largest museum prize as the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022.

The Horniman will receive £100,000 in prize money, which it plans to use to fund three years of a Resident Artist programme linking young musicians with its musical instrument collection, and a programme of outdoor learning activities in the school holidays, particularly aimed at pupils in receipt of free school meals.

The winner was selected from five shortlisted museums: Derby Museums, Museum of Making (Derby), Horniman Museum and Gardens (London), People’s History Museum (Manchester), The Story Museum (Oxford) and Ty Pawb (Wrexham). Each of the other finalist museums receives a £15,000 prize in recognition of their achievements.

The Horniman Museum was recognised for its transformational programme in 2021, re-orientating its activity to reach diverse audiences more representative of London and engaging people in addressing climate change.

Nick Merriman, Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, said: “It takes a community of people to create a museum that truly serves its local area. People love museums – we hear ‘I love the Horniman’ a lot – and this award is a great endorsement of love as a motivation for the work that we do here; love for our communities and love for the world we all share.”

Art Fund, the UK’s national charity for art, awards Art Fund Museum of the Year annually to one outstanding museum.

The members of this year’s judging panel, chaired by Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman, are: Dame Diane Lees, Director-General, Imperial War Museums; Harold Offeh, artist and educator; Dr Janina Ramirez, cultural historian and broadcaster, and Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 6 Music DJ and broadcaster.

Previous winners of the annual prize are:

  • 2008 – The Lightbox, Woking
  • 2009 – Wedgwood Museum, Stoke-on-Trent,
  • 2010 – Ulster Museum, Belfast
  • 2011 – British Museum
  • 2012 – Royal Albert Memorial Museum
  • 2013 – William Morris Gallery, London
  • 2014 – Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield
  • 2015 – Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
  • 2016 – Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London
  • 2017 – The Hepworth, Wakefield
  • 2018 – Tate St Ives
  • 2019 – St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff
  • 2020 – Aberdeen Art Gallery; Gairloch Museum; Science Museum; South London Gallery; and Towner Eastbourne
  • 2021 – Firstsite, Colchester.
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3 comments
  1. Nick says:

    The musical instrument collection is brilliant. I hope that the young musician project will involve playing some of them. Whenever I see the instruments I wish I could hear them too.

  2. Mazza63 says:

    Oh everyone should visit! It’s a brilliant museum, and the gardens are lovely. I’ve only been once cos it’s miles away from me, but my other half and I had a great day. A shame the aquarium was shut back then, but we’re definitely planning to go again 💖💖💖

  3. Andrea says:

    Was the museum I regularly visited as a child. Went back as an adult a few years ago and it still enthralled me.

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