The Whitworth has been awarded the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015. The prize is the biggest museum award in the world and the largest arts prize in Britain.
The £100,000 Prize was presented by novelist Ben Okri and accepted by Maria Balshaw, Director of The Whitworth, part of The University of Manchester, at a ceremony at Tate Modern.
Through its impressive £15m reinvention, the Whitworth has redefined the way that it engages with its public, connecting the building and surrounding park to create a space with a sense of openness and invitation. The appeal of the newly-developed building combined with the creativity and originality of its outreach programmes during closure, resulted in record-breaking visitor figures following its reopening.
Stephen Deuchar, chair of the judges and director of the Art Fund, said: “The transformation of the Whitworth – architecturally, curatorially, and as a destination – has been one of the great museum achievements of recent years. Its galleries offer intellectual, visual and creative stimulus of the highest order; the collections are innovatively presented, the community engagement programmes are both original and unusual, and the visitor experience is exceptional throughout. We were particularly taken with the relationship between the reconceived building and its surrounding park: museum, locality and community merge as if one. And in a wider sense the Whitworth has changed the landscape: it truly feels like a museum of the future.”