Now celebrating its 16th year, the annual awards organised by the sector’s largest event, The Museums + Heritage Show, recognise the innovators and leaders of the UK and international museums, galleries and visitor attractions.

One of the big winners on the night was Brooklands Museum, which picked up the 2018 Permanent Exhibition Award for its new Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed.

The judges said that the new exhibition, which opened in November, had it all: “It’s immersive, creative and people-focused. It is astonishing in its risk-taking, has great volunteers at its heart, and challenging in the way it has so brilliantly brought its collection alive.”

On the night Diane Lees, Director-General of the Imperial War Museum and Museums + Heritage Awards judge, presented a Special Recognition Award to the Wolfson Foundation.

“Giving the fundraising challenges we all face, they resolutely continue to support us both through their funding and by campaigning on behalf of the sector through reports such as Why Collect?” she said.

Collecting the award, Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said one of the joys and one of the peculiarities of funders, is that their achievements and successes are only achievable through partnership with others.

“Our success is only possible because of your success and you really are a remarkable sector,” he said. “Philanthropy is probably more important to the sector now than ever. Our constant message is that philanthropy works alongside government funding and doesn’t work if it replaces government funding. Which is why the recent report Why Collect? calls cleary and unequivically for more public funding for your sector.”

The 2018 Museums + Heritage Awards Winners, Highly Commended and Shortlisted

Project on a Limited Budget

Winner: Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL, The Whale Weekender

Highly Commended: Heritage Learning with Ferens Art Gallery, Explore Art (Under 5s and Families Gallery)


  • The Natural History Museum at Tring, Dodos: Old Bird, New Tricks
  • Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery, Illustrating Harry Potter
  • Maidstone Museums, Research & Display of Mummified Remains for ‘Ancient Lives’

Supported by Arts Council England

Temporary or Touring Exhibition

Winner: The Salisbury Museum, Terry Pratchett: His World exhibition

Highly Commended: Science Museum, London (as part of the Science Museum Group), Robots: The 500-Year Quest to Make Machines Human


  • People’s History Museum, Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT+ Rights
  • National Trust, Prejudice & Pride
  • Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Eric Gill: The Body
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, You Say You Want a Revolution?
  • National Museums Liverpool / Arts Council Collection, Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender & Identity

Sponsored by Displayways

The International Award

Winner: Holland Open Air Museum and Kossmann.dejong, The Canon of Dutch History

Highly Commended: The Museum of Islamic Art in the Pergamon Museu, Berlin State Museums, The Syria Initiative – Museum as Mediator of Shared Heritage


  • Vardemuseum in co-operation with Tinker imagineers, TIRPITZ – hidden stories on Danish west coast
  • Denis Byrne Architects (Architects/Project Leaders) Thirty Three Trees Landscape Design, Derrigimlagh: The Marconi Station / Alcock & Brown Landing Site
  • Museum of South East Demark, Vikingeborgen/The Viking Fortress
  • Canadian Museum of History, Canadian History Hall

Volunteers of the Year Award – Team

Winner: Scottish Football Museum, Football Memories Volunteer Network

Highly Commended: Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association (HSFA) HSFA survivor speakers

  • Old Royal Naval College, Painted Hall Conservation Volunteers
  • National Trust – Buckland Abbey, Buckland Abbey Art Ambassador Volunteers
  • Century of Stories – Leicestershire County Council, Bosworth Tommies
  • Ripon Museum Trust, The Refurbishment Team

In Partnership with Association of Independent Museums

Volunteer of the Year Award – Individual

Joint Winners:

  • Miss Jessica Arnold – The Mid Hants Railway (the Watrecress Line) Ltd
  • Museum of London, Claire Madge


  • Canal & River Trust, National Waterways Museum, Barry Green
  • National Football Museum, Allan Maull
  • Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, Jenny Simmons

In Partnership with Association of Independent Museums


Winner: Museum of London Archaeological Archive

Highly Commended Science Museum Group, Space Descent VR with Tim Peake


  • Tate, Preloaded and HTC VIVE, Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier
  • Canal & River trust, National Waterways Museum and Jam Creative Studios, Boats of Every Description: An Interactive Journey
  • National Gallery with Van Gogh Museum, Neue Pinakothek, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Seiji Togo Memorial and Facebook, #SunflowersLive

Sponsored by The Hub

Permanent Exhibition

Brooklands Museum, The Brooklands Aircraft Factory & Flight Shed

Jointly Highly Commended:

Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford Museums & Galleries, The David Hockney Gallery

The Natural History Museum, Hintze Hall


  • National Army Museum, National Army Museum Permanent Galleries
  • National Science and Media Museum, part of the Science Museum Group, Wonderlab
  • Haley Sharpe Design (hsd) on behalf of The Postal Museum, The Postal Museum and Mail Rail
  • Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, The Ashmolean Story

Best Shop under £500k

Winner: Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, The Shop at RAMM

Highly Commended: Brontë Parsonage Museum, Brontë Parsonage Museum Shop


  • National Museums Liverpool (NML Trading Ltd), World Museum’s Newly Redeveloped Shop
  • Bury Art Museum, Bury Art Shop
  • Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, The University of Manchester, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre Shop

Best Shop over £500k

Winner: Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge ‘Gift Shop Redesign’The Hepworth Wakefield


  • Enterprises Ltd, The Hepworth Wakefield
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), YSP Shop
  • British Library, British Library Retail

Educational Initiative

Winner: UCL Museums and Collections, Museums on Prescription

Highly Commended: Leeds Museums and Galleries, Exceed Expectations … with objects and artworks


  • Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Sharing Shakespeare’s Story
  • The Royal Parks, Speak Up! The Hyde Park Debating Challenge
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), Summer Club
  • Chiltern Open Air Museum, Literacy Theme Days for Primary Schools

Sponsored by Volunteer Makers

Marketing Campaign

Winner: The Postal Museum, Launching The Postal Museum and Mail Rail

Highly Commended: Victoria Art Gallery, Here Be Dragons marketing campaign


  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender & Identity
  • Oxford University Gardens, Libraries & Museums, Mindgrowing Campaign
  • Bristol Aero Collection Trust, Aerospace Bristol

Sponsored by BDRC

Fundraising Initiative of the Year

Winner: Haslemere Educational Museum, Museum in a Million

Highly Commended: Gairloch + District Heritage Co Ltd, Our Land, Our People, Our Story


  • Friends of RvCP + The Royal Victoria Chapel, Raise the Roof
  • National Museums of Scotland, Save the Galloway Hoard
  • Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, #YayNotNeigh

Restoration or Conservation

Winner: The Royal Parks, Brompton Cemetery Conservation Project

Highly Commended: Norfolk Museums Service – Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Nelson & Norfolk


  • National Museums Liverpool, Murillo’s Virgin and Child in Glory Conserved
  • Royal Museums Greenwich, Armarda Portrait of Elizabeth I
  • London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, London Mithraeum

Sponsored by Each Art Unique

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