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Craven Museum shortlisted for the world’s largest museum prize.

Craven Museum, Museum of the Year Finalist, 2024. Image courtesy of Skipton Town Hall. Photo: © Jonny Walton

Craven Museum at Skipton Town Hall has been announced as one of five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024, the world’s largest museum prize.

Art Fund annually shortlists five outstanding museums for Museum of the Year. The 2024 edition recognises inspiring projects from autumn 2022 through to winter 2023, with audiences and communities at their heart – with a particular focus on community engagement, sustainable ways of working, and demonstration of ambition by reinventing what it means to be ‘the best’ museum for the audiences of today and tomorrow. 

On behalf of Craven Museum, Danielle Daglan, Head of Culture and Archives at North Yorkshire Council said: ‘’We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year; to have the work of this small but hugely dedicated and passionate team recognised by this award is amazing! 

“Craven Museum at Skipton Town Hall sits at the heart of its community and has accessibility considerations running through everything the team does. We believe all communities deserve the highest quality cultural experiences – this is our ethos, and we think small museums have the potential to lead the way in innovation of access and community engagement - we are proof of this and we want to inspire others to do the same.’’

Craven Museum is located in the Grade II listed Skipton Town Hall, a modern multi-arts cultural hub on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. The venue also includes an exhibition gallery, historic concert hall, education, and community spaces which all work in unison with the museum to enrich and expand the cultural experiences on offer. The museum is focused on the local area - spanning pre-history to contemporary in areas as diverse as archaeology, textiles, fine art, literature, social history, and more – the museum has something for everyone.
The museum was recognised as the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum 2023 and Best Accessible Museum 2023. It was judged one of the top 3 museums for access provision out of over 2,000 UK museums and heritage sites. Craven Museum programmed free or low cost activities or events every day of the 2023 school holidays for families, in recognition of the current cost of living crisis.
Between 2022-2023, 115 artists displayed work in the museum's exhibition gallery, and 8 community groups created displays in the community cases. The museum welcomed 156,391 visitors in the 2022-23 period, an increase of roughly 56,000 visitors compared to the same period the previous year.

The other four shortlisted museums are Dundee Contemporary Arts (Dundee); Manchester Museum (Manchester); National Portrait Gallery (London); Young V&A - Victoria and Albert Museum (London).

The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony at the National Gallery in London on 10 July and will receive £120,000. £15,000 will be given to each of the four other finalists – bringing the total prize money to £180,000. 
The 2024 judging panel, chaired by Art Fund director Jenny Waldman, includes: Anupam Ganguli (Finance Director, Historic Royal Palaces), Vick Hope (broadcaster), Tania Kovats (artist) and Sir John Leighton (former Director-General, National Galleries of Scotland).  The judges will visit each of the finalists to inform their decision-making, while each museum will make the most of being shortlisted over the summer through events and activities for new and current visitors.
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund said: "Congratulations to Craven Museum on being shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024. Each of our finalists truly has something for everyone and all have community at the very heart of their programming. Their commitment to innovative partnerships whilst operating within an extremely challenging funding environment is incredible, and I'm so pleased to see the way they support and centre young people through their work. Across a wide range of size and scale, these organisations are all real leaders in their field. I urge everyone to go and visit these extremely special spaces." 

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