Attractions industry news

16 May 2019

17th annual Museums and Heritage awards honour 'innovative and ground-breaking initiatives'

The winners of the Museums + Heritage Awards were announced in London last night (15 May), with museums large and small being honoured and Sir David Attenborough picking up a Special Recognition Award.

Taking place halfway through the Museums + Heritage exhibition at Olympia, London, the awards celebrate "innovative and ground-breaking initiatives from museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions across the UK and overseas". This year saw the 17th annual prize-giving.

Among the winning entries were the SS Great Britain Trust securing the Permanent Exhibition of the Year for Being Brunel. Judges said this exhibit was creative, detailed and breaks new ground, much like its subject did all those years ago".

Other winners were the Australian National Maritime Museum winning International Project of the Year – less than £1m, the Natural History Museum, Dorset County Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Ulster Museum as Partnership of the Year, and John Jenkins of The D-Day Story at Portsmouth Museums named as Volunteer of the Year – Individual, who, as a 99-year-old veteran himself brought "personal experience and history to life", transforming the experience of visitors.

Sir David Attenborough said in a recorded acceptance speech that he was delighted to receive the Special Recognition award, adding that "museums are among my favourite places; I don't need to say to you how important they are to our own civilisation and culture".

The awards judging panel was made up of seven directors and senior executives from UK museums, with the shortlist for each category being whittled down to a winner and highly commended entries.

The full list of winners and highly commended entries is listed below:

Special Recognition Award 2019

Sir David Attenborough

Permanent Exhibition of the Year


– SS Great Britain Trust Being Brunel

Highly commended:
– National Maritime Museum Endeavour Galleries Project

Temporary or Touring Exhibition of the Year


– Florence Nightingale Museum Spanish Flu: Nursing During History's Deadliest Pandemic

Highly commended:

–National Museums Liverpool China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors

– The Foundling Museum Ladies of Quality & Distinction

Limited Budget Project of the Year


– Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Bath Wonder Women of Space Exhibition

Highly commended:

– The Novium Museum Chichester Roman Week 2018

The International Project of the Year – more than £1m


– The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

The International Project of the Year – less than £1m


– Australian National Maritime Museum Gapu-Monuk Saltwater: Journey to Sea Country

Highly commended:

– Fries Museum/XPEX Experience Experts Escher Op Reis / Escher's Journey

Innovation of the Year


– 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums They Shall Not Grow Old

Highly commended:

– Scottish Submarine Trust Inside Out – Scottish Submarine Centre

Restoration or Conservation Project of the Year


– Old Royal Naval College Painted Hall Project

Highly commended:

– Austin-Smith:Lord on behalf of Historic Royal Palaces Kew Gardens Great Pagoda

– Donald Insall Associates on behalf of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Temperate House Precinct Project

Marketing Campaign of the Year


– The Museum of English Rural Life Look at this Absolute Unit

Highly commended:

– The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum, Leisure & Culture Dundee Bash Street's Back at The McMenace

Partnership of the Year


– Natural History Museum, Dorset County Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Ulster Museum in Belfast Dippy on Tour, a natural history adventure

Highly commended:

– Oxford University Gardens, Libraries & Museums Multaka-Oxford

Shop of the Year – t/o under £500K


– Florence Nightingale Museum Retail Transformation

Shop of the Year – t/o over £500K


– BALTIC Shop, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Shop Refurbishment

Volunteer of the Year Award – Individual


– The D-Day Story at Portsmouth Museums John Jenkins

Highly commended:

– National Museums Liverpool Carl Clee 'Our Bee Man'

– Pickering Beck Isle Museum Gordon Clitheroe

Volunteers of the Year Award – Team


– History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museums, University of Oxford Museums Multaka-Oxford Volunteer Team

Highly commended:

– National Museums Liverpool Merseyside Maritime Museum Liverpool Women's History Group

Educational Initiative of the Year


– Leeds Museums & Galleries Leeds Curriculum

Highly commended:

– London Transport Museum Battle Bus

– Royal Air Force Museum STAAR – Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency

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