This year’s M+H Awards for Excellence has 11 categories to choose from, including the return of the free Volunteer(s) of the Year Award, and the new Best Shop Award, which is split into two categories for shops with a turnover of under £500k and for those with a turnover of more than £500k. The new Best Shop Award will celebrate best practice in museum and heritage retailing and will not only look at profit but the entire retail operation over the past year and aims to honour the leaders in the sector. There is also a reduced fee for the Project on a Limited Budget Award.

The entry process is made simple with a step-by-step guide, which gives helpful tips and advice on what to include as well as all the relevant criteria.

The awards are open to all museums, galleries, cultural and heritage visitor attractions and their partners and suppliers, no matter what size with a project completed or implimented in 2017. And they continue to generate public recognition for the winners and shortlistees and have been instrumental in helping many to secure funding and support from key stakeholders. Award winners have also enjoyed recognition both locally and further afield as the awards increasingly gain an international profile.

Top Tips from Anna Preedy, Director, Museums + Heritage Awards

Tip 1: It’s  critical that your Two Page Entry Paper stands on its own two feet. Don’t bury important facts and figures in the supporting material and be sure to sell your success to the judges! Get your manager or director to read and sign off the paper before submission to make sure that it makes sense to someone else – you may know your project inside and out but the judges may not.

Tip 2: Make sure you tailor your entry paper to the specific criteria of the category you are entering. For example if you are entering a particular exhibition in the Temporary or Touring Exhibition and also in the Marketing Campaign category then your two entries need to be tailored to the relevant criteria for each. A simple cut and paste is unlikely to succeed as each category is judged on a different criteria.

Tip 3: If you are entering the awards on behalf of your client, we urge you to seek input from your client. Don’t forget, our judges are all leading museums and heritage attraction professionals and so seek to scrutinise the facts and figures, the ROI and impact. Do make sure you get permission from your client to enter!

Once the deadline has passed, entries will be whittled down to a shortlist, published in March, by the esteemed panel of judges made up of five leading lights in the sector who look for evidence of ‘project outcome, creativity, relation to the objective and cost effectiveness’.

Winning the Museums + Heritage International Award was a proud moment for our dedicated staff and a delightful acknowledgement of their hard work. We knew we had built a museum that people want to visit time and again, but receiving the award was a remarkable recognition from the professional museum field. Post-award, we have had the great pleasure of presenting our project to numerous museum professionals in Helsinki, in Finland and in conferences around the world.

Tiina Merisalo Museum Director, Helsinki City Museum, Winner Of International Award 2017

This year the awards will be presented at 8 Northumberland Avenue on 16 May by the Reverend Richard Coles, known for his successful pop career in The Communards and his tolerant and open-minded personality, which has become evident through his many appearances on television and radio, which included a stint on Strictly Come Dancing last year. There will be a sit down meal at the ceremony with an after party sponsored by BECK.

List of Categories for the M+H Awards for Excellence 2018

Permanent Exhibition
Temporary or Touring Exhibition – sponsored by Displayways
Educational Initiative – sponsored by Volunteer Makers
Project on a Limited Budget – supported by Arts Council England
Innovation Award – sponsored by The Hub
Marketing Campaign – sponsored by BDRC
International Award
Restoration or Conservation
Volunteer(s) of the Year Award – in partnership with AIM
Fundraisers of the Year
Best Shop (under £500k and over £500k)

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2017 winners

Permanent Exhibition sponsored by Martello Media
National Museums Scotland, Ten New Galleries at the National Museum of Scotland

Innovation Award sponsored by The Hub
Historic Royal Palaces, The Lost Palace

Restoration or Conservation sponsored by Each Art Unique
The Fitzwilliam Museum and the Hamilton Kerr Institute, Restoration of Sebastiano’s Adoration of the Shepherds

Educational Initiative
National Trust – Croome, Potter & Ponder: Sensory Experiences

Special Recognition Award
National Trust

Project on a Limited Budget supported by ACE
Hallaton in the Great War Research Group, Hallaton in the Great War – Tales of the Unexpected

Individual Volunteer of the Year in partnership with AIM sponsored by BDRC

Joint Winners
Bailiffgate Museum – Jane Mann
Museum of Oxford, Oxford City Council – Aaron Lee

Volunteer Team of the Year in partnership with AIM sponsored by BDRC
People’s History Museum, Community Curators of Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT + Rights

Marketing Campaign sponsored by Volunteer Makers
14-18 NOW, Jeremy Deller, Rufus Norris, National Theatre & Birmingham Rep, We’re here because we’re here’

Temporary or Touring Exhibition sponsored by Displayways
The Novium, Chichester District Council, Tim Peake: An Extraordinary Journey

The International Award sponsored by Securitas
Helsinki City Museum, The New Helsinki City Museum