17 category winners and many other shortlistees highly commended by the judges received glowing acclaim during the livestreamed event hosted by journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed.

Central to the 2021 edition of the event was marking the achievements of organisations and individuals who have evidenced remarkable levels of ambition and resilience throughout the pandemic.

In a first for the Awards, two categories – COVID Supplier of the Year and COVID Special Recognition Award – were decided by a public vote. It was specialist heritage consultancy Tricolor Associates that scooped the supplier prize, while ALVA director Bernard Donoghue garnered the most votes for the Special Recognition gong.

Awards 2022 – News
Samira Ahmed opens one of the night's 17 gold envelopes to reveal a category winner

The other category dedicated to achievements specific to the past year’s unique terrain saw Gloucester History Trust (fewer than 20 paid FTE employees) and Beamish, The Living Museum of the North (more than 20 paid FTE employees) triumph in the Pandemic Pivot Award.

“We have experienced some very tough times…but we have also seen extraordinary generosity, creativity, resilience and risk-taking,” stated Maggie Appleton MBE, chief executive of the RAF Museum, who this year chaired the judging panel.

“These awards celebrate those fabulous traits of our sector, and of the remarkable people that make it one which is such a joy to be part of.”

2021 winners

Restoration or Conservation Project of the Year

JOINT WINNERS

  • The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings – SPAB Old House Project
  • National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth City Council, D-Day Story – Landing craft tank LCT 7074 – Rescuing a D-Day Hero

Fundraisers of the Year

WINNER

  • Charleston – Save and Reopen Charleston

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • The Cartoon Museum – COVID-19 survival fundraiser

Shop of the Year

WINNER

  • The Tank Museum – The Tank Museum’s Online Shop

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • London Transport Museum – London Transport Museum’s Online Shop

Sustainable Project of the Year sponsored by National Lottery Heritage Fund

WINNER

  • Jubilee Pool Penzance Ltd – Jubilee Pool Penzance – first geothermal heated pool in the UK

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • Derby Museums – Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill

Partnership of the Year

WINNER

  • Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (University of Leicester) on behalf of QHCN – Queer Heritage and Collections Network

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • National Museum of the Royal Navy, National Army Museum, RAF Museum, Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Joint Operations – A Tri-Service Museum Partnership

Learning Outreach Award

WINNER

  • Leeds Museums and Galleries – Closing the Covid gap: LMG Primary School Membership, curriculum planning and Recovery Curriculum

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • Council for British Archaeology, University of Lincoln – Dig School: Enquiry-based learning in archaeology

Community Impact Award

WINNER

Colchester + Ipswich Museums – Museum from Home activity packs

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • The Scottish Crannog Centre – Dig the New Breed! Apprentices and the local community

Volunteers of the Year in partnership with the Association of Independent Museums

WINNER

  • Harry and Julian Young – The Lion Salt Works Museum

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • Capturing Lives in Scotland’s Communities – Student Mentors – University of Edinburgh Museums

Exhibition of the Year – UK sponsored by Displayways

WINNER

  • Garden Museum – Derek Jarman: My Garden’s Boundaries are the Horizon

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • The Box, Plymouth City Council – Permanent Galleries

International Exhibition of the Year sponsored by Displayways

WINNER

  • MAS Antwerpen – 100 x Congo. A century of Congolese art in Antwerp

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art – About Time: Fashion and Duration

Best Use of Social Media

WINNER

  • Black Country Living Museum – BCLM on TikTok

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • York Museums Trust – #CuratorBattle

Best Use of Digital – UK

WINNER

  • National Portrait Gallery – Hold Still: A Portrait of our Nation in 2020

JOINT HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • Smartify CIC with Playdead and National Galleries of Scotland – Ray Harryhausen at The National Galleries of Scotland
  • Barnsley Museums – Going Digital: Barnsley Museums in COVID

Best Use of Digital – International

WINNER

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Met Stories

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • United Workers Club on behalf of Visit Flanders – The Stay at Home Museum

The Pandemic Pivot Award (fewer than 20 paid FTE employees)

WINNER

  • Gloucester History Trust – Gloucester Looking Up

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • Thelma Hulbert Gallery – The Creative Cabin – art and nature on tour

The Pandemic Pivot Award (more than 20 paid FTE employees)

WINNER

  • Beamish, The Living Museum of the North

JOINT HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • Birmingham Museums Trust – Sarehole Mill – Community Shop and Bakehouse
  • National Trust for Scotland – Burn’s Big Night In

COVID Supplier of the Year

WINNER

  • Tricolor Associates – Recovery support for many

COVID Special Recognition Award

WINNER

  • Bernard Donoghue, Director, ALVA

Appleton was joined on this year’s judging panel by Diane Lees, director general of Imperial War Museums; Matthew Tanner, chief executive of the SS Great Britain Trust; Sam Mullins, director of London Transport Museum; Caro Howell, director of the Foundling Museum; Stephen Duncan, director of commercial and tourism at Historic Environment Scotland; and Bernard Donoghue, director of ALVA.

“It is truly inspiring to see how our winners have been at the very heart of their communities, playing a vital role in helping to ensure people stay connected and supported during the most challenging of times,” notes Anna Preedy, director of the Museums + Heritage Awards.

“I have been awestruck by the sector’s collective energy to not only ride out the storm but to seize opportunities, to transform and to challenge. I am delighted that these Awards shine a spotlight on the crucial role museums and heritage visitor attractions play in helping society to reshape and recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

Back to top