British Museum named Museum of the Year by Art Fund

Seated Buddha from Gandhara A seated Buddha from Gandhara was one of the objects included in the History of the World project

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The British Museum has been named Museum of the Year by the Art Fund.

The accolade was awarded to the museum after the success of its History of the World project which attempted to tell the world's history in 100 objects.

The project, which included a 100-part series on BBC Radio 4, featured objects such as the world's oldest football.

Other shortlisted museums were the University of Cambridge's Polar Museum, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway and Roman Baths Museum in Bath.

The British Museum was presented with a £100,000 prize at a ceremony held at Tate Britain on Wednesday evening.

Former cabinet minister Michael Portillo, who chaired the judging panel, said: "We were particularly impressed by the truly global scope of the British Museum's project, which combined intellectual rigour and open heartedness, and went far beyond the boundaries of the museum's walls.

"Above all, we felt that this project, which showed a truly pioneering use of digital media, has led the way for museums to interact with their audiences in new and different ways."

The museum's director Neil MacGregor said: "The British Museum is delighted to win the Art Fund Prize on behalf of the extraordinary coalition of UK museums that made A History of the World so successful.

"A History of the World celebrated objects and the stories they tell; the prize will pay for a series of Spotlight Tours, lending star British Museum objects around England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales."

The project involved 550 heritage partners and museums across the country as well the BBC.

This is the first time a London-based national museum has won the prize.

Previous winners include the Ulster Museum, Stoke-on-Trent's Wedgwood Museum and the National Mining Museum in Wales.


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