The east London museum that celebrates the Victorian textile designer and artist William Morris has won the UK’s largest arts prize.
The Walthamstow gallery has bagged the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year beating nine others, including Hepworth in Wakefiel, Kelvingrove in Glasgow, Preston Hall in Stockton-on-Tees and Baltic in Gateshead.
William Morris Gallery was recently saved from closure by the Waltham Forest council and Heritage Lottery Fund, which invested a total of £3 million into the project. The new museum opened last summer for a younger, modern audience.
The exhibition explains the story of Morris’ timeless designs and the house he lived in. Stephen Deuchar, director of The Art Fund said the local authority did a superb job in renovating the space. “What they might have thought was a sleepy old museum that could be humanely put down, could in fact be revitalised and that is what has happened,” he said.
Winners of the Art Fund Prize, formerly known as the Gulbenkian Prize, include the British Museum and Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex.
This year’s nominees were judged by historian Bettany Hughes journalist Sarah Crompton, MP Tristram Hunt and artist Bob and Roberta Smith. Judges visited the museums, then graded their new projects on its excellence, originality and imagination.
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