The Story Museum in Oxford is one of the five museums shortlisted as finalists for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022.
Art Fund annually shortlists five outstanding museums for the “Museum of the Year” prize. The 2022 shortlist champions organisations exemplifying creativity and resilience and focuses particularly on those engaging the next generation of audiences in innovative ways.
“The five superb finalists are all museums on a mission who are tackling the vital issues of today.” —Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund
The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony at the Design Museum in London on 14 July. The Museum of the Year receives £100,000, and the other four shortlisted museums each receive £15,000 in recognition of their achievements.
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.
Each museum will feature special events and activities for visitors during their time as shortlisted finalists.
The Story Museum reopened in May 2021 after a £6m redevelopment, working with 50 designers, makers and creatives to bring a host of stories to life in ten immersive galleries and activity spaces, and has welcomed 80,000 visitors since its reopening.
The museum fires the imaginations of young people through the power of stories and spaces that include a Whispering Wood, Enchanted Library, Small Worlds picture book gallery, and a Learning Studio inspired by Hogwarts, which connect visitors creatively with stories in all forms.
The museum directly addresses inequality in Oxford, where 26% of children live below the poverty line, with its work shown to effectively promote early oracy, literacy and the motivation to read independently. The museum’s programme also tackles isolation experienced as a result of the pandemic in families with young children.
An exhibition opening later in May will inspire children to become the next generation of comic artists and writers. And also, in 2022, the Story Museum will launch its Minecraft Museum project, working with teenagers to create a digital version of the Enchanted Library gallery space.
The other shortlisted museums are:
Horniman Museum and Gardens, in London’s Forest Hill, is London’s only museum where environment, ecology and human cultures can be seen side by side on a global scale.
Museum of Making in Derby, which explores the story of making in Derby for over 300 years and aims to inspire the next generation to be makers of the future.
People’s History Museum in Manchester, which tells the story of democracy in Britain through a collection of 60,000 objects and the world’s largest collection of political and trade union banners.
Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham (literally Everyone’s House), which is a cultural resource that brings Wrexham’s arts and markets together through a programme of exhibitions, socially engaged projects and live performances.