The Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill, south London, has been selected as one of the five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022, the world’s largest museum prize.      

Art Fund annually shortlists five outstanding museums for the Museum of the Year prize. The 2022 edition championsorganisations whose achievements tell the story of museums’ creativity and resilience, and particularly focuses on thoseengaging the next generation of audiences in innovative ways. 

Nick Merriman, Chief Executive and Content Director of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says: ‘We are delighted to be shortlisted for this prestigious award. 2021 was a year of determination and effort – guided by our Reset Agenda – to put our local community at the heart of what we do, and to focus our work around the issues that matter most – social justice, climate and ecology and building a better future together. We’re incredibly grateful for the support of all of our partners, artists and contributors, staff and volunteers, and to everyone who visited and joined in to make the Horniman such a joyful place to be in 2021.’ 

 2021 highlights at the Horniman: 

·      the 696 Programme, a celebration of the music of South London – from Afrofuturist hip-hop to reggae, jazz and soul. Showcasing Black British creativity and placing it at the Horniman’s heart, the sold-out live music festival attracted 8,000 visitors and nearly 20,000 visited the Dance Can’t Nice exhibition. 

·      fulfilling the pledges of the Climate and Ecology Manifesto, from an online club of Environment Champions to embedding more sustainable gardening practices to the creation of a micro-forest to help combat air pollution along the South Circular road   

·      inspiring the next generation, from a takeover of the galleries by children to the Horniman’s youth panel of 14-19 year olds, and providing curriculum-linked school workshops, work experience opportunities and Kickstart apprenticeships  

·      collaborating with other museums – the Horniman is spearheading the MAGNET group of organisations sharing collections-based touring exhibitions, starting with Hair: Untold Stories at the Horniman.  

 The other four shortlisted museums for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022 are Derby Museums, Museum of Making (Derby); People’s History Museum (Manchester); The Story Museum (Oxford); and Tŷ Pawb (Wrexham). 

 The members of this year’s judging panel, chaired by Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman, are: Dame Diane Lees, Director-General, Imperial War Museums; Harold Offeh, artist and educator; Dr Janina Ramirez, cultural historian and broadcaster and Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 6 Music DJ and broadcaster. The judges will visit each of the finalists to help inform their decision-making, while each museum will make the most of being shortlisted over the summer through events and activities for both new and current visitors. 

The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony at the Design Museum on 14 July and will receive £100,000. The other four shortlisted museums will each receive £15,000 in recognition of their achievements. #museumoftheyear 

Picture shows: Horniman Museum and Gardens, Credit: Horniman Museum and Gardens/Sophia Spring