Welcome door mat
NEW!

Visitor Welcome Award

When a visitor arrives at your organisation, they are choosing to come to you rather than going to the cinema, park or shopping centre. You are competing for their leisure time and so a smile and customer-focused service can transform their experience.

Entry criteria | Read more

This new award seeks to celebrate the greatest visitor experience and the most welcoming atmosphere. Understanding, knowing, listening and communicating with your visitors is at the heart of this award and, from start to finish, impressions count. Please describe what your organisation has done to ensure that your visitors get the best welcome ever.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021 

Open to UK organisations only

Sponsored by

Tyg tickets logo
Food on table with chairs
NEW!

Café or Restaurant of the Year

No cultural visit is complete without a trip to its café or restaurant. Increasingly, visitors have come to expect it as part of their visitor experience.

Entry criteria | Read more

Important to brand and reputation, and a driver of footfall and secondary revenue, the look, feel, ambience, service, and quality of produce are all key to success. As expectations increase, the museum culinary landscape is evolving; out with stewed tea and white sliced bread and in with destination experiences, local sourcing and sustainable operation. No longer an adjunct, a great cafe or restaurant should reflect the Museum’s personality, be relevant and respectful of its locality and a destination in its own right.

Your entry should be a regular fixture of your public offer and focus on the customer experience. You must also ensure that you provide the facts and figures including turnover, average spend and profit. Full consideration will be given to the impact that Covid has had as will the relative size of your organisation and catering space. So please be sure to include all the facts!

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

FREE!

Sustainable Project of the Year

This award, in partnership with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, will be made to outstanding environmentally sustainable projects or exhibitions which can demonstrate best practice in your approach to managing environmental impacts.

Entry criteria | Read more

Up to two winners will be selected:

1. one which has used simple, affordable and easily-transferable approaches, like our 2019 winner, Museum of Oxford.

2. one which has delivered an environmentally sustainable capital project, like our 2020 winner, Jubilee Pool.

Entries should demonstrate how their project or exhibition has used, for example, energy efficiency measures, recycling and reuse, sustainable procurement and green visitor travel planning and encouragement.

Entries should also identify any wider economic, social or environmental benefits to the organisation or community which have arisen from ‘thinking sustainably’.  Capital projects in particular might wish to demonstrate how they deliver against relevant UN Sustainability Goals

As a guide, to see what The National Lottery Heritage Fund expects of the projects it funds, explore its environmental sustainability guidance

Your application must apply to projects which were delivered during 2021, even if your organisation was closed for some of that time due to COVID-19 safety measures.

FREE TO ENTER!

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Sponsored by

Volunteer namebadge
FREE!

Volunteer(s) of the Year

Across our sector, volunteers give up their time to help your organisation. They do it willingly, not for reward, but we think we should celebrate their hard work and the contribution they have made during the challenges of 2021.

Entry criteria | Read more

So, if you would like to give a very public show of appreciation to your volunteer(s) simply nominate the individual or team you think most deserving. This important award is brought to you in partnership with Association of Independent Museums (AIM).

FREE TO ENTER!

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

In partnership with

Donations box full of money
FREE!

Fundraising Campaign of the Year

As the sector was thrown into financial crisis, museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions were forced to find new and creative ways to raise much needed funds.

Entry criteria | Read more

Crowd-funding campaigns, live-streaming, virtual events and exhibitions, online quizzes or digital memberships, you name it the opportunities were as endless as they were challenging! This Award seeks to recognise those continued endeavours so be sure to give us all the facts and figures. Please note that this category does not include grant applications.

FREE TO ENTER!

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Permanent Exhibition of the Year

Entries should highlight excellence in the creation of a new museum, redevelopment of an existing one or a new permanent exhibition within the period of eligibility.

Entry criteria | Read more

The judges will be looking for evidence of innovative design and interpretation within the project brief and budget. Particular attention should be paid to the impact the exhibition has had on the overall museum, gallery or heritage attraction.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021 (for further information about the eligibility dates please refer to How To Enter)
Open to UK organisations only

Sponsored by

Temporary or Touring Exhibition of the Year

This category is always very popular but we appreciate that the size of budget can vary enormously so for the first time, we will be awarding two Temporary/Touring Exhibitions. One with budgets up to £80,000 and the other for more than £80,000 ex VAT.

Entry criteria | Read more

Entries for this award should highlight excellence in the creation of a temporary or touring exhibition, designed to be featured within a museum, gallery or heritage attraction. Particular attention should be given to the effectiveness of the exhibition in attracting audiences in to the museum, gallery or heritage attraction. The exhibition must have been open to the public within the period of eligibility.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Sponsored by

The Shipping Monster logo

Category partner

Box tied up with string

Shop of the Year

Looking not only at profit but the entire retail operation during the period of eligibility, this award aims to honour the leaders in our sector.

Entry criteria | Read more

In convincing the judges of why you should scoop the Best Shop Award, please provide the following figures: Average Transaction Value; Spend Per Head as well as Turnover, Gross and Net Profit plus percentage increases on the previous year (unless new).

Tell us about your conversion rates – the percentage of visitors buying from your shop and how these have changed in relation to the visitor numbers. Importantly, please also demonstrate how your shop is on brand and how effectively it and its products link to the museum, its collection and its narrative.

Your shop can be permanent, temporary or online or a combination of all three. In all instances the judges will be looking for impressive results as well as considering the overall customer experience. Please ensure all figures are included in your Entry Paper and not just in your Supporting Material.  Consideration will be given to the relative size of your organisation.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Pile of books

Learning Programme of the Year

The continued and vital work of museum and heritage organisations’ learning colleagues is a lifeline for educators.

Entry criteria | Read more

This award looks at how cultural organisations have successfully continued in their work to support early learning providers, home learners and schools, through formal blended physical and/or digital learning resources. Be clear about your objectives and define who the beneficiaries of the programme were.

When describing your work be sure to tell us how you achieved your objectives, placing particular emphasis on the impact it had on teachers and learning audiences including primary, secondary and SEND schools and FE/HE providers. Please include numbers – explain how many people benefited and what increase in engagement there has been. The judges will also be looking at how programmes are relevant to local audiences as well as supporting local and national strategies.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Community Engagement Programme of the Year

This award will be given to the organisation which best connected with those members of its community who are most vulnerable and who face the greatest barriers to engagement, perhaps as a result of socio-economic disadvantage, digital poverty, disability or age.

Entry criteria | Read more

Ensure you describe the community you were working with and in describing the process for delivery, place particular emphasis on how you overcame any barriers to engagement. Please describe the positive impact that this work has had on your community and provide evidence of outcomes – these could include returns visits, development of partnerships, etc. 

Please describe how your community outreach work is tailored to meet the needs and interests of specific target groups, to offer wider access to your organisation, its collections and stories.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Marketing + Communications Strategy of the Year

This award will be given for the most effective public marketing or communications strategy for a temporary or permanent exhibition or an overall museum, gallery or heritage visitor attraction.

Entry criteria | Read more

This can consist of a sustained campaign or a one-off initiative. Entries can cover events, viral marketing, use of social media, advertising, PR, sponsorship activities etc but must demonstrate creativity and originality, a provable impact and clearly illustrate an effective return on investment. Be sure to be clear about the impact your strategy has had in terms of visitor numbers and/or engagement.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Partnership of the Year Award

This award will be given to the most innovative and impactful partnership project or programme.

Entry criteria | Read more

The project or programme should involve at least one museum, collection or heritage site, and one or more additional partners (which may be non-museum or heritage organisations). Judges will look for partnerships that have achieved something which individual organisations could not have done on their own, demonstrates creativity and has had a significant impact on people, collections or a place. Particular emphasis should be given to the impact the partnership has had and its lasting legacy.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Abstract digital network

Best Use of Digital 

The digital transformation continues. Digital storytelling has come to the forefront, proving to be an essential tool for many organisations and now, as we move away from the restrictions of the pandemic, the process of using digital technologies to create new – or to modify existing – visitor experiences is ever more important.

Entry criteria | Read more

The sector now faces the challenge of balancing digital with in-person experiences whilst continuing to harness the benefits of online reach. The focus of this award is not on the digitisation process itself but on how organisations have used their online presence to take collections and stories to new audiences. Examples might include streaming of live events, new digital experiences, commercial partnerships, online games/interactives, etc. 

Entries must demonstrate how you have successfully altered your digitised offering to reach new audiences, in new and creative ways, as well as using these tools to enhance other activities such as commercial or learning. Consideration will be given to the relative size of your organisation.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Crumbling rocks

Restoration or Conservation Project of the Year

This award will highlight the quality of work undertaken on restoration, repair and conservation projects within the UK.

Entry criteria | Read more

Judges will look at how a project has been managed and implemented from conception to completion. Your entry must clearly demonstrate rigorous project and conservation planning and processes. The category is open to the restoration and conservation of single objects through to entire buildings. Particular attention will be given to how the project has enhanced public access whilst ensuring important historical objects and buildings have been safe guarded for the future.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open to UK organisations only

Map of the world
INTERNATIONAL

Exhibition of the Year – International

This category is open to museums, galleries and heritage attractions outside of the UK. Entries should highlight excellence in the creation of a new museum, redevelopment of an existing one or a new exhibition, either permanent or temporary/touring, within the period of eligibility.

Entry criteria | Read more

The judges will be looking for high quality innovative projects, well executed within the project brief and budget. Particular attention should be paid to the impact the exhibition has had on the overall museum, gallery or heritage attraction.

For suppliers/contractors wishing to enter this category, it is imperative that the submission is made jointly with your client.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open only to exhibitions outside of the UK only

Abstract digital globe
INTERNATIONAL

Best Use of Digital – International

The digital transformation continues. Digital storytelling has come to the forefront, proving to be an essential tool for many organisations and now, as we move away from the restrictions of the pandemic, the process of using digital technologies to create new – or to modify existing – visitor experiences is ever more important.

Entry criteria | Read more

The sector now faces the challenge of balancing digital with in-person experiences whilst continuing to harness the benefits of online reach. The focus of this award is not on the digitisation process itself but on how organisations have used their online presence to take collections and stories to new audiences.

Examples might include streaming of live events, new digital experiences, commercial partnerships, online interactives, etc.  Entries must demonstrate how you have successfully altered your digitised offering to reach new audiences, in new and creative ways, as well as using these tools to enhance other activities such as commercial or learning. Consideration will be given to the relative size of your organisation.

Eligibility dates: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
Open only to projects outside of the UK