Museum of the Year 2015: The Whitworth in Manchester takes top prize

The award follows a £15m 'reinvention' of the site in Moss Side, which saw record visitor numbers after it reopened in February

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The Whitworth in Manchester has been named Museum of the Year, after the biggest overhaul in its 125-year history turned it into “a museum of the future”.

Maria Balshaw, director of the museum, picked up the £100,000 prize backed by the Art Fund at a ceremony this evening at Tate Modern.

The award follows a £15m “reinvention” of the site in Manchester’s Moss Side, which saw record visitor numbers after it reopened in February. The renovation, which took two years, doubled the size of the site and connected it to the surrounding park.

The redeveloped Whitworth in Manchester

Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar, who chaired the judges, said: “The transformation of the Whitworth – architecturally, curatorially, and as a destination – has been one of the great museum achievements of recent years.”


He said the collections were presented with innovation while the galleries “offer intellectual, visual and creative stimulus of the highest order,” adding: “In a wider sense the Whitworth has changed the landscape: it truly feels like a museum of the future.”

It triumphed out of a short list of six which included the Tower of London, the MAC in Belfast and National Trust site Dunham Massey.

The Art Fund has funded and managed the prize for the past two years, which was previously the Prize for Museums and Galleries administered by the Museum Prize Trust