The Judges

Our independent panel of judges are selected for their extensive experience. As individuals, they have devoted enormous amounts of energy and dedication to the sector and provide expert scrutiny to ensure our winners are deserving of their accolade. They sit on the judging panel in their own right, not on behalf of their respective organisations, and give their time and commitment freely. As leading lights in the museums world, their combined knowledge makes these awards the very best they can be.

Maggie Appleton MBE

Maggie Appleton MBE was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Air Force Museum in October 2014 and took up her post on 12 January 2015.


Bernard Donoghue OBE

Bernard Donoghue has been the Director of ALVA since September 2011 following a career in advocacy, communications and lobbying, latterly at a senior level in the tourism and heritage sector.


Stephen Duncan

As Director of Commercial and Tourism of Historic Environment Scotland, Stephen is charged with managing the visitor experience, education and interpretation activities across a diverse portfolio to over 3 million visitors annually.


Caro Howell MBE

Caro Howell joined Imperial War Museums as Director General in 2023. Prior to that, she was Director of the Foundling Museum.


Keith Merrin

Keith Merrin is the Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) overseeing its nine museums which include 3 of the top 5 most visited free attractions in the North East.

We’re delighted to welcome Keith as a new judge for the 2024 Awards Season.


Sally Shaw MBE

Sally Shaw MBE has been the Director of Firstsite, Colchester since 2016. With her team, she has delivered a successful turn-around programme realigning Firstsite with a focused, relevant purpose.

We’re delighted to welcome Sally as a new judge for the 2024 Awards Season.


Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith is a curator and previous director of the Arts Council Collection, the most widely circulated national collection of modern and contemporary British art.

We’re delighted to welcome Deborah as a new judge for the 2024 Awards Season.


Dr Matthew Tanner MBE

Matthew Tanner has worked in the maritime heritage sector for 20 years. He has specialised in bringing maritime heritage to life for non-maritime audiences.


Sara Wajid MBE

Sara Wajid is joint CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust, one of the UK’s largest independent museum trusts.