Henry Moore, Draped Seated Woman, 1957-8. Image source.

At a ceremony at the National Gallery in London this Wednesday, Yorkshire Sculpture Park was named as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2014. 

The other finalists, chosen from across the United Kingdom, were selected for their national and international acclaim. Collecting the award, YSP’s founder Peter Murray said: ‘We’ve tried so hard to develop something which is unique not just in this country but also in Europe and beyond.’

Founded in 1977, the Park houses Arts Council England’s substantial sculpture collection — which includes canonical British modernists such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore and Anthony Caro — as well as putting on impressive and innovative exhibitions.

In 2013, YSP attracted 350,000 visitors and held exhibitions on geographically diverse artists including Yinka Shonibare, Amar Kanwar and Hans Josephsohn. Currently, the park is exhibiting the first large-scale survey show in Europe of the American sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. Another exciting project is the recently completed renovation of the Park’s eighteenth-century chapel. And, Ai Weiwei is currently showing a series of sculptures in the chapel — his first public UK exhibition in four years.

Ai Weiwei, Iron Tree, 2013. Image source.

The Art Fund Museum of the Year award was set up in 2003 and annually awards £100,000 to the winning museum.

The other finalists were: Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, East Sussex; Hayward Gallery, London; Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth; Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich and Tate Britain, London.

The panel of judges, chaired by Stephen Deuchar (Art Fund), were: Sally Bacon (Clore Duffield Foundation); Michael Craig-Martin RA (artist); Wim Pijbes (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) and Anna Somers Cocks (The Art Newspaper).