Craven Museum Shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024

Craven Museum shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year

Craven Museum at Skipton Town Hall has been named one of the top five finalists for the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024 award. This accolade, considered the largest museum prize globally, celebrates outstanding achievements in the museum sector.

Art Fund, renowned for its annual shortlisting of five remarkable museums, has chosen Craven Museum among its finalists for the 2024 edition. The selection process honours museums that have executed inspiring projects from autumn 2022 through winter 2023, placing a significant emphasis on community engagement, sustainable practices, and a forward-thinking approach to redefine excellence in museum experiences.

Danielle Daglan, Head of Culture and Archives at North Yorkshire Council, stated, “We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year; to have the work of this small but hugely dedicated and passionate team recognised by this award is amazing!”

Daglan further emphasised the museum’s commitment to accessibility and community involvement, saying, “Craven Museum at Skipton Town Hall sits at the heart of its community and has accessibility considerations running through everything the team does. We believe all communities deserve the highest quality cultural experiences – this is our ethos, and we think small museums have the potential to lead the way in innovation of access and community engagement – we are proof of this and we want to inspire others to do the same.”

Craven Museum, nestled within the Grade II listed Skipton Town Hall, serves as a cultural cornerstone in the picturesque landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. Beyond its rich historical setting, the museum offers a diverse range of exhibits spanning pre-history to contemporary times, including archaeology, textiles, fine art, literature, and social history.

The museum’s commitment to inclusivity and innovation has garnered previous recognition, including the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum 2023 and Best Accessible Museum 2023 awards. Notably, Craven Museum was judged one of the top three museums for access provision out of over 2,000 UK museums and heritage sites.

In the period between 2022 and 2023, Craven Museum witnessed a significant surge in visitors, with approximately 156,391 individuals exploring its exhibits—an increase of approximately 56,000 visitors compared to the preceding year. Moreover, the museum hosted numerous artists and community groups, showcasing a vibrant tapestry of local talent and community collaboration.

The other four shortlisted museums contending for the coveted title alongside Craven Museum are Dundee Contemporary Arts (Dundee), Manchester Museum (Manchester), National Portrait Gallery (London), and Young V&A – Victoria and Albert Museum (London).

The ultimate winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024 award will be revealed during a ceremony at the National Gallery in London on 10th July. The recipient museum will receive a prestigious cash prize of £120,000, while each of the four other finalists will be awarded £15,000, bringing the total prize fund to £180,000.

Jenny Waldman, Director of Art Fund and chair of the 2024 judging panel commended the finalists, noting, “Each of our finalists truly has something for everyone and all have community at the very heart of their programming. Their commitment to innovative partnerships whilst operating within an extremely challenging funding environment is incredible, and I’m so pleased to see the way they support and centre young people through their work. Across a wide range of size and scale, these organisations are all real leaders in their field. I urge everyone to go and visit these extremely special spaces.”

As the anticipation builds for the announcement of the victor, Craven Museum stands as a beacon of community engagement, accessibility, and cultural enrichment, embodying the spirit of excellence in the museum landscape.

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