Culture

The V&A Named Museum of the Year at Ceremony Attended by Kate Middleton

Museum of the Year - Kate Middleton
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge presents Martin Roth, director of Victoria & Albert Museum, with the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 prize at the Natural History Museum in London, July 6, 2016. Matt Dunham/Pool/Getty

London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, more commonly known as The V&A, was named Britain’s museum of the year by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Wednesday.

A panel of judges praised the V&A for its eclectic array of exhibitions in the last year, including a retrospective of works by the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

The prestigious accolade—won in 2015 by Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery—is presented by the Art Fund and comes with a £100,000 prize, the highest-awarded arts prize in the U.K. and the biggest award for museums anywhere in the world.

"The V&A experience is an unforgettable one," said Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director and chair judge. The other judges included art historian Gus Casely-Hayford, BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz, culture professor Ludmilla Jordanova and artist Cornelia Parker.

Deuchar added (via The Guardian): “[The V&A’s] recent exhibitions, from Alexander McQueen to the Fabric of India, and the opening of its new Europe 1600-1815 galleries were all exceptional accomplishments—at once entertaining and challenging, rooted in contemporary scholarship, and designed to reach and affect the lives of a large and diverse national audience.

“It was already one of the best-loved museums in the country, this year it has indisputably become one of the best museums in the world.”

The V&A enjoyed a record-breaking 3.9 million visitors in 2015.

The other nominated museums were the Arnolfini in Bristol, the Bethlem Museum of Mind in London, Jupiter Artland in West Lothian and Yorkshire’s York Art Gallery.

Wearing a stunning off-the-shoulder white gown by Brazilian designer Barbara Casasola, the Duchess of Cambridge announced the winner. The royal’s dress comes from Casasola’s spring/summer 2016 collection, shown at London Fashion Week (LFW). “ Casasola has become a quiet favourite on the LFW schedule for her minimalist yet feminine collections which she often shows in art galleries to underscore the sophisticated bent of her work,” The Telegraph said. Oscar-nominated actor Alicia Vikander has also been photographed in a red copy of the dress.

Wednesday’s ceremony was held at the National History Museum in London. The duchess is a patron of the popular attraction—following in the footsteps of Princess Diana.

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