Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum made the list of finalists for the Art Fund Museum of the Year award. This is known as the largest museum prize in the world and includes five UK museums. The other finalists on the shortlist span Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These museums are in the running to win a £100,000 prize.
The prize seeks out museums and galleries across the UK that have shown exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement in the preceding year. The runners-up will each receive £10,000 in recognition of their achievements.
Founded in 1884, Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum houses over 500,000 objects, photographs, and manuscripts from across the world. Rather than be arranged by geographical or cultural areas, the artifacts are gathered together by type. This distinction is what set the Pitt Rivers apart as it reveals distinctions and parallels across cultures.
The museum was highlighted for the prize due to their innovative programming in 2018. This included: ‘Hope,’ which asked radical questions about their collection’s colonial past; ‘Making’ examined the link between making objects and health; ‘No Boundaries’ worked with refugees to reinterpret collections; and, ‘No Binaries’ encouraged responses to the museum’s collections.
The winning museum is announced at a ceremony at the Science Museum in London on Wednesday 3 July 2019.