Horniman Museum and Gardens scoops £100,000 Art Fund prize
Horniman Museum and Gardens has been announced as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022, with Director Nick Merriman presented with the £100,000 prize - the largest museum prize in the world - by DJ and broadcaster Huw Stephens in a
ceremony at the Design Museum, London.
Located in Forest Hill, the Horniman is London's only museum where environment, ecology
and human cultures can be seen side by side at a global scale. During 2021, following a period of reflection prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, climate emergency and the murder of George Floyd, they reimagined the role they could play as a creative hub for their local community.
The result was a transformational Reset Agenda – an ambitious programme focused on re-orientating activity to reach diverse audiences more representative of London. This included embedding a Climate and Ecology Manifesto, from an online club of Environment Champions to the creation of a micro-forest to combat local air pollution.
From a takeover of the galleries by children to its youth panel of 14-19 year olds plus work experience opportunities and Kickstart apprenticeships, the museum is inspiring the next generation.
A further focus of the Reset Agenda was the 696 Programme, an interrogation of the power and responsibility public organisations have in supporting local music. Showcasing Black British creativity and placing it at the Horniman's heart, a sold-out festival reached 8,000 visitors and nearly 20,000 experienced the related exhibition. The Horniman is also spearheading the collaboration amongst museums through its MAGNET group of
organisations sharing collections-based touring exhibitions.
The winner was one of five finalists. The other shortlisted museums were: Derby Museums, Museum of Making (Derby), 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 members of this year's judging panel, chaired by Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman, were: 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 DJ and broadcaster.
Art Fund, the UK's national charity for art, awards Art Fund Museum of the Year annually to
one outstanding museum. The 2022 edition champions organisations whose achievements tell the story of museums' creativity and resilience, and particularly focuses on those engaging the next generation of audiences in innovative ways.
Picture credit: Horniman Museum and Gardens, The Horniman Museum clocktower, copyright Andrew Lee