CULTURE: Burrell Collection wins Museum of the Year

Burrell Collection
The Burrell Collection has won the prestigious award a year after it reopened

By Lucy Ashton

The Burrell Collection in Glasgow has been named the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023, which comes with a £120,000 award.

The winner was announced by artist Sir Grayson Perry at a ceremony at the British Museum in London on Wednesday.

The Burrell beat Leighton House (London), The MAC (Belfast), Natural History Museum (London) and Scapa Flow Museum (Orkney) to the title.

The Burrell Collection in Pollok Country Park houses the 9,000-object collection of Sir William and Constance Burrell.

The park is handy for visitors from West Dunbartonshire via the Erskine Bridge and the M8 motorway.

The collection – which includes objects from Europe and Asia – was donated to Glasgow by Sir William in 1944.

Sir Hector Hetherington, former principal of Glasgow University, described the donation of the collection as “one of the greatest gifts ever made to any city in the world.”

King Charles and Auguste Rodin's The Thinker
King Charles contemplated Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker, one of the world’s most recognisable sculptures when he officially reopened the collection

Managed by the charity Glasgow Life, it was officially reopened by King Charles in October 2022, almost four decades after his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, first opened it.

The internationally renowned museum and gallery had been closed for a five-year £68.25 million refurbishment.

The major re-display aimed to celebrate diversity through the museum’s rich and varied collection and create the most accessible, inclusive and sustainable fine and decorative arts museum in the world.

Duncan Dornan, head of museums and collections for Glasgow Life, was presented with the cash prize.

Burrell Collection
The museum sits in the landscape of Pollok Country Park

Jenny Waldman, director of the Art Fund and chair of the judges for the competition, said: “The Burrell Collection is extraordinary – a world-class collection displayed in an inspirational building, in harmony with the surrounding landscape of Pollok Park.

“Reopened in 2022, the sensitive renovation and collection redisplay invite exploration and delight, with innovative digital displays offering new ways of understanding the art and objects in the museum’s light, welcoming spaces.

“All this was achieved with a strong shared purpose and with the involvement of local community groups in Glasgow.”

Burrell Collection
The collection contains 9,000 objects

Mary Beard, historian, broadcaster and fellow judge, called the collection “a treasure trove of objects”, with everything from one of the UK’s most important collections of Chinese art, to medieval tapestries and stained glass, and works of art by Rembrandt, Degas and more.

Since reopening, the Burrell Collection welcomed over 500,000 visitors and contributed an economic impact of £20 million for Glasgow in its first six months.

One comment

  1. Brilliant place to visit, some lovely exhibits, great cafe/restaurant too.
    Well done on the award.

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