Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been named the best museum in the country – winning the award ahead of five other major galleries including Tate Britain.
Described by judges as a “world leader”, the West Bretton park was presented with the Art Fund Museum of the Year Prize and was praised for its “integration of learning, landscape and sculpture”.
Art Fund director and chair of the judging panel, Stephen Deuchar, said: “A perfect fusion of art and landscape, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park has gone from modest beginnings to one of the finest outdoor museums one might ever imagine.
“In 2013 it really came of age – with art projects such as Yinka Shonibare’s extraordinary exhibition, the fruits of the expansion and consolidation of the landscape on both sides of the lake, and with the conversion of the chapel to house a major new work by Ai Weiwei.”
The judges including Sally Bacon, director of the Clore Duffield Foundation, artist Michael Craig-Martin RA, Wim Pijbes director of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and Anna Somers Cocks, chief executive of The Art Newspaper visited the sculpture park last month and later described it as an “outstanding museum with a bold artistic vision”.
The gallery was up against the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft in East Sussex, Hayward Gallery in London, The Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, and Tate Britain in London.
Peter Murray CBE, YSP’s founding and executive director, said: “We are so surprised and honoured to win this major award.
“It’s extremely important to have the validation of our peers. This award is dedicated to our incredible staff, the artists with whom we’re privileged to work so closely, and our truly wonderful visiting public.”
The gallery also received £100,000 which will be used to continue to provide open access to the park, restore historical features on the 500-acre estate and support emerging artists.