We are delighted to share the news that the Pitt Rivers Museum has been shortlisted as one of five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019. The annual award, which celebrates innovation and exceptional achievement in museums and galleries across the UK, is regarded as the most prestigious museum prize in the world. It is a great tribute to all of the Museum's staff who have worked so hard in the past years to make this happen.
The other finalists are HMS Caroline, Belfast; Nottingham Contemporary; St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff; and V&A Dundee.
The Museum has been shortlisted for the award for its creative programmes of reinvention and reinterpretation, which show a much-loved Victorian space challenging perceptions and demonstrating the vital role it can play in contemporary society.
2018 saw the Museum welcome a record-breaking half a million visitors; deliver a range of powerful exhibitions, such as Kwibuka Rwanda, which told the story of survivors of the 1994 genocide and their attempts to come to terms with loss and trauma; partner with the History of Science Museum and local organisations such as Asylum Welcome and Refugee Resource to provide volunteering opportunities for forced migrants and refugees; and launch an exciting collaboration with Maasai communities to change the narrative used by UK museums to display Maasai artefacts and tell Maasai stories as part of a living culture.
As the Art Fund puts it in their press release:
“the Pitt Rivers Museum is remarkable for its singular approach to the presentation of objects and its willingness to encourage new, transformative interpretations. In 2018, the museum embarked on a series of innovative programmes: ‘Hope’ asked radical questions about their collection’s colonial past, ‘Making’ examined the link between making objects and health, ‘No Boundaries’ worked with refugees to reinterpret collections and ‘No Binaries’ encouraged queer responses to the museum’s collections celebrating diversity and challenging prejudices. The museum’s 600,000 strong collection of objects and new creative programmes brought in a record breaking 502,000 visitors last year.”
You can find out more at www.prm.ox.ac.uk.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday 3 July.