Stone me! Museum in the running for £100,000 UK title

Lapworth Museum of Geology (Credit: Shantavira - Wikimedia)

A Birmingham museum is in the running to be named the very best museum in the UK.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology, which is part of the University of Birmingham, which dates back to 1880 and boasts the largest geological collection in the Midlands. It was recently re-opened following a £2.7m redevelopment.

The collections at the museum, which is based in the original grade II* listed Aston Webb building, include over 250,000 specimens covering aspects of geological sciences, including palaeontology, mineralogy and petrology. There are also collections of scientific instruments, geological models, zoology, archaeology, and one of the most extensive and important geological archives in the UK.

The museum will face tough competition in Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2017 competition from the Tate Modern in London, The Hepworth in Wakefield and National Heritage Centre of Horseracing Sporting Art in Newmarket.

The Art Fund Museum of the Year title is awarded annually to one outstanding museum, which has shown exceptional imagination, innovation, and achievement.

The judges for Museum of the Year 2017 are Professor Richard Deacon CBE, artist; Dr Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum; Munira Mirza, arts and philanthropy advisor; Jo Whiley, radio DJ and television presenter; Stephen Deuchar CBE, director of Art Fund.

Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said: “Each of these museums has had a remarkable year, reaching, in a range of ways, new heights in their efforts to serve and inspire their visitors.

“Whether unveiling new buildings, galleries, displays or public programmes, all the finalists have shown a real commitment to innovation and experimentation, offering fresh perspectives and new ways of seeing and understanding their collections.”

The winning museum, which will be announced at a ceremony at the British Museum on July 5, will receive £100,000, while the other shortlisted museums will receive £10,000.