GLASGOW’S Burrell Collection and Orkney’s Scapa Flow Museum have been shortlisted for a prestigious Museum of the Year award. 

The winner of the Art Fund’s 10th annual competition will also receive £120,000.

Alongside the two Scottish museums, The MAC in Belfast, London’s Natural History Museum, and London’s Leighton House are also shortlisted for this year’s prize. 

The previous Scottish winner of the Museum of the Year award was Aberdeen Art Gallery in 2020.

Reopened in March 2022 following a major refurbishment, the Burrell Collection in Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park is renowned for its collections of early Renaissance and Chinese art. 

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Named after the shipping magnate Sir William Burrell who donated the majority of his family’s art collection to the city in 1944, the museum spans 6000 years of history. In the year following its reopening, the Burrell Collection welcomed over 500,000 visitors and contributed an economic impact of £20 million for Glasgow.

Responding to the announcement, the chair of Glasgow Life Bailie Annette Christie said: “The opening of The Burrell Collection in 1983 was the first demonstration of Glasgow’s commitment to culture-led regeneration. 

“The benefits associated with accessing culture are tangible and the deep joy it can bring is visible every day at the reimagined Burrell Collection.”

Located on the island of Hoy, the newly-restored Scapa Flow Museum offers visitors the chance to explore Orkney’s wartime heritage as a significant naval base. 

Highlighting the individual stories of ordinary Orcadians during the first and second world wars, the interactive museum tells of the archipelago’s history, as well as documenting the loss of HMS Royal Oak and HMS Hampshire.

Graham Bevan, the convener of Orkney Islands Council, commented that Scapa Flow Museum “reflects a determination by many over several years to bring a vision for a world class museum honouring our wartime heritage to reality”. 

Run by Scotland’s smallest local authority, the museum holds the potential to attract thousands of visitors to the island.

Speaking on behalf of the judges, the director of the Art Fund Jenny Waldman emphasised the shortlisted museums’ artistic inspiration and encouraged the public to visit cultural venues across the country. 

She said: “From transformational redevelopment to community involvement to addressing the major issues of today, the shortlisted museums may operate at very different scales, but all show astonishing ambition and boundless creativity.” 

Judged by a panel of artists, historians, and authors, the winner will be announced on July 12.

The Burrell Collection is free to visit Monday to Sunday.

From May to September, the Scapa Flow Museum is free to visit Monday to Sunday between 9.30am and 4.15pm.