The irrepressible stand-up star, a regular on TV, radio and the stage, will be tickling the fancy of 300 sector professionals to celebrate the impressive achievements of museums and heritage attractions across the UK and internationally.

Now in its 12th year, the prestigious awards give all organisations the chance to be recognised for their innovations, quality, passion, entrepreneurship and expertise.

The deadline for entries is Friday, January 30 and any museum, gallery or heritage attraction can enter the awards whether large or small, well-known or newly established and all entrants will be judged on their submissions alone by a panel of leading lights in the sector.

Anna Preedy, Event Director said: “It is hugely inspiring to see how this sector continues to innovate, surprise and excel in the backdrop huge financial restraints.
“And it does this with determination and enthusiasm and without compromise to quality. “These awards really count as they are a direct endorsement by senior industry colleagues whose opinions matter.”

Comedian Marcus Brigstocke will present the 2015 M+H Awards for Excellence

Submissions began arriving at M+H headquarters in December and, as is the norm in the awards’ cycle, the postman will begin replacing his burgeoning mail bag for a van to deliver the final days’ bumper entries.

Once the deadline has passed the hundreds of entries will be whittled down to a shortlist of 50, five for each of the 10 categories, and the seven judges, including three new additions, will begin the task of choosing the best of the best.

Awards co-ordinator Deb Harris with the stacks of entries for 2014

Making their debut will be Stephen Duncan, Commercial and Tourism Director for Historic Scotland, Diana Owen, director of Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Maggie Appleton recently appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Air Force Museum.

They will be joined by esteemed stalwarts Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, Diane Lees, Director General of the Imperial War Museums, Matthew Tanner, Chairman of the Association of Independent Museum and Sam Mullins, Director of the London Transport Museum

The judges will be looking for evidence of ‘outcome, creativity, relation to objective and cost effectiveness’. Shortlisted entries will show all of these but the winners will also have to demonstrate that something extra – true excellence.

The 10 categories are: Best Customer Service Award sponsored by BDRC Continental | Marketing Campaign | Permanent Exhibition sponsored by Martello Media | Temporary or Touring Exhibition | Educational Initiative sponsored by Arts Award | Project on a Limited Budget sponsored by Sweett Group | Innovations Award | Trading & Enterprise – the Winstan Bond Trophy supported by AIM | International Award | Restoration & Conservation sponsored by Fairhurst Ward Abbotts.

In 2015, M+H is also continuing its partnership with the Guardian Culture Professionals Network to crown the UK’s most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction of the past 12 months. (If you’d like to nominate your favourite for the Culture Pros Pick details can be found here.)

On the night, guests will gather at the historic staterooms of 8 Northumberland Avenue in the heart of London to see who has triumphed.

If you aren’t already working on your submission, you can download the submission criteria and entry form here.

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