The Museums + Heritage Awards celebrate innovative and ground-breaking initiatives from museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions across the UK and overseas and each project had to be completed in 2018.

These included the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York’s Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination at The Costume Institute exhibition, which won the International Project of the Year of more than £1m.

Diane Lees CBE, Director General of the Imperial War Museums and Chair of the 2019 judging panel, said the it was a hugely impressive exhibition. “It demonstrated an immense amount of curatorial judgement in the precise placement of each object ensuring that throughout the inspirations were clear,” she said. “In short, it is simply stunning and hugely successful in making the subject matter accessible to all in a beautiful and original way.”

The new Being Brunel museum, part of the SS Great Britain Trust, won Permanent Exhibition of the Year and Twitter sensation ‘Look at this Absolute Unit’ from The Museum of English Rural Life, won Marketing Campaign of the Year.

There were also wins for the Wonder Women of Space Exhibition at the Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath in the Limited Budget Project of the Year category and the Painted Hall Project at the Old Royal Naval College for Restoration or Conservation Project of the Year.

In addition, a Special Recognition Award was presented to Sir David Attenborough, who said in a pre-recorded video: “I’m truly delighted by this award. Museums are among my favourite places. I have been involved with them for most of my life, one way or another, and I have never known them actually not being under attack and under-funded. So, if I have contributed to one museum or any other museum in preserving those ideals that are so important to all of us, I’m very grateful indeed that you should think so.”

Sir John wasn’t the only 90-something to win an award as 99-year-old John Jenkins MBE won the Individual Volunteer of the Year award for his work with Portsmouth City Museum and The D-Day Story bringing personal experience and history to life.

Anna Preedy, Director of the annual Museums + Heritage Awards commented: “These awards recognise the amazing achievements, creativity, innovation, hard work and utter commitment evident throughout the museums and heritage sector. The awards have become the benchmark for excellence and the shortlistees and winners represent the very best of the best.”

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The 2019 Museums + Heritage Awards Winners and Highly Commended

Innovation of the Year

Winner: They Shall Not Grow Old (14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museum)

Highly commended: Inside Out – Scottish Submarine Centre (Scottish Submarine Trust)

Sponsored by The Hub


Restoration or Conservation Project of the Year

Winner: Painted Hall Project (Old Royal Naval College)

Joint highly commended: Temperate House Precinct Project (Donald Insall Associates on behalf of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew)

Joint highly commended: Kew Gardens Great Pagoda (Austin-Smith:Lord on behalf of Historic Royal Palaces).

Sponsored by The Rochester Bridge Trust


Educational Initiative of the Year

Winner: Leeds Curriculum (Leeds Museums & Galleries)

Joint highly commended: Battle Bus (London Transport Museum)

Joint highly commended: RAF Museum RAF Centenary Programme (RAF Museum)


Shop of the Year turnover less than £500k

Winner: Retail Transformation at the Florence Nightingale Museum


Shop of the Year turnover more than £500k

Winner: BALTIC Shop Refurbishment (BALTIC Shop, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art)


Limited Budget Project of the Year

Winner: Wonder Women of Space Exhibition (Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Bath).

Highly commended: Chichester Roman Week 2018 (The Novium Museum)


Marketing Campaign of the Year

Winner: Look at this Absolute Unit (The Museum of English Rural Life)

Highly commended: Bash Street’s Back at The McMenace, The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum, Leisure & Culture Dundee.

Sponsored by BVA BDRC


Individual Volunteer of the Year

Winner: John Jenkins (The D-Day Story)

Joint highly commended: Carl Clee ‘Our Bee Man’ (National Museums Liverpool)

Joint highly commended: Gordon Clitheroe (Pickering Beck Isle Museum)

In partnership with AIM


Volunteer Team of the Year

Winner: Multaka-Oxford Volunteer Team (History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museums, University of Oxford Museums).

Highly commended: Liverpool Women’s History Group (National Museums Liverpool)

In partnership with AIM


Temporary or Touring Exhibition of the Year

Winner: Spanish Flu: Nursing During History’s Deadliest Pandemic (Florence Nightingale Museum)

Joint highly commended: China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors (National Museums Liverpool)

Joint highly commended: Ladies of Quality & Distinction (The Foundling Museum)

Sponsored by Displayways


Partnership of the Year

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

Highly commended: Multaka-Oxford (Oxford University Gardens, Libraries & Museums)

Supported by Arts Council England


International Project of the Year, less than £1m

Winner: Gapu-Monuk Saltwater: Journey to Sea Country (Australian National Maritime Museum)

Highly commended: Escher Op Reis / Escher’s Journey (Fries Museum /XPEX Experience Experts)


International Project of the Year, more than £1m

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


Permanent Exhibition of the Year

Winner: Being Brunel (SS Great Britain Trust)

Highly Commended: Endeavour Galleries Project (National Maritime Museum)Permanent Exhibition of

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