WINNERS ANNOUNCED! Prestigious industry accolades awarded to leading lights of the Museum and Heritage sector

Visitor attractions from across the UK have been recognised for their remarkable achievements at the Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence 2012.

The winners and runners-up in each of the 11 categories were announced by broadcaster and comedienne Sue Perkins yesterday (May 16th) at 8 Northumberland in Central London.

Now celebrating its tenth year, the annual Awards created by The Museums + Heritage Show, recognise projects of excellence ranging from groundbreaking achievements of national institutions to those crafted with limited resources and budget or those championing sustainability.

Among the big winners of the Awards was the Heritage Lottery Fund which walked away with the 2012 Outstanding Contribution to the Sector accolade.

Introducing the Award, Matthew Tanner, Director of Brunel's ss Great Britain, said: “Since its inception in 1994, the Heritage lottery Fund has been one of the most dominant forces for good in the heritage sector. It has supported 33,000 projects and awarded £5 billion – a truly staggering investment that has had an overwhelming and unprecedented impact on our cultural heritage and the lives of people in every town in the UK.”

Accepting the award on behalf of the HLF, Trustee Kathy Gee, said: “This is simply great news.  The Heritage Lottery Fund has been privileged to invest in the UK’s heritage for 18 years; from museums and parks to archaeology, the natural environment and our cultural traditions, the impact of Lottery funding has been transforming and to have our ‘outstanding contribution’ recognised like this is wonderful.  We’re delighted to receive this award on behalf of the extraordinary people and projects we support all around the UK.”

Hundreds of industry professionals joined together at the ceremony – the ‘Oscars’ of the museums and heritage sector - to celebrate the considerable achievements and spectacular projects taking place in cultural attractions across the UK and Europe.

Amongst the 2012 winners were: The Ironbridge Gorge Museum, which fought off strong competition to win the much-coveted Classic Award for its continued growth, development and sustained interest from visitors both regionally and nationally. The winners of the International Award were Bolton Museum for Quest for Immortality and Mallinson Architects & Engineers for the Children’s Centre for Civilisation and Creativity in Cairo.
The Permanent Exhibition Award, sponsored by Service Graphics, - the most hotly contended category – was shared between two attractions, the National Museum Scotland for the Transformation of the National Museum of Scotland and the Holburn Museum in Bath.

Matthew Tanner MBE, a member of the Awards judging panel, added: “In such times it is more important than ever that we celebrate the excellence of our museums, galleries, culture and heritage. The preservation of our cultural heritage is important, not only to local and national economies, but also to the education of this nation. These Awards celebrate the finest collections, exhibitions, innovation and entrepreneurship; each a reflection of the passion and commitment to excellence within this sector.”

The winners, highly commended and shortlisted entries (listed below) are a reflection of the industry’s growing diversity. Each museum, cultural and heritage visitor attraction is recognised for its excellence - whether for an innovative and groundbreaking exhibition or for making a considerable achievement on the smallest of budgets.

Following the glittering ceremony, Sue Perkins said: “I was delighted to host the Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence again this year.  It is wonderful to see that despite the difficult economical climate, our amazing cultural sector remains as diverse and inspiring as ever!”

The Awards are judged by a panel of the sector’s leading lights including: Diane Lees, Director General, Imperial War Museums; Bernard Donoghue, Director, Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) and other leading sector professionals.

The Museums + Heritage Awards were launched in 2003 by the organisers of The Museums + Heritage Show – the sector’s biggest trade event for museum and heritage/cultural visitor attraction professionals. The Museums + Heritage Show is an annual event and took place at Earls Court, London on 16 and 17 May, 2012.

For more information about the Awards or the Show, please visit or call 01905 724 734.


Note to Editors:

Photo caption: (l-r) Matthew Tanner MBE with Virginia Tandy from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Sue Perkins and Kathy Gee from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Photo credit: Chris Sharp

Press enquiries: For further details about any of the shortlisted, commended or winning entries or photography from the Awards Ceremony, please call Steff on 07891246064 or email

Steff Lewis-Sabey

PR Manager
Musuems + Hertiage Awards for Excellence