MUMA’s £15 million revamp of the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester has been named Museum of the Year
The museum has seen record-breaking visitor numbers since it reopened to the public earlier this year after a revamp which doubled the 125-year-old gallery’s public space.
The Whitworth saw off competition from five other finalists including the Hackett Hall McKnight-designed MAC in Belfast, Dunham Massey in Altrincham, Oxford University Museum of National History, the Tower of London and London’s Imperial War Museum which was recently reworked by Foster + Partners.
The judges said that ‘through its impressive £15m reinvention, the Whitworth has redefined the way that it engages with its public, connecting the building and surrounding park to create a space with a strong sense of openness and invitation’.
Stephen Deuchar, chair of the judges and director of the Art Fund, said: ‘The transformation of the Whitworth – architecturally, curatorially, and as a destination – has been one of the great museum achievements of recent years. Its galleries offer intellectual, visual and creative stimulus of the highest order; the collections are innovatively presented, the community engagement programmes are both original and unusual, and the visitor experience is exceptional throughout.
‘We were particularly taken with the relationship between the reconceived building and its surrounding park: museum, locality and community merge as if one. And in a wider sense the Whitworth has changed the landscape: it truly feels like a museum of the future.’
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