St Fagans National Museum of History near the Welsh capital of Cardiff has been declared UK’s Museum of the Year 2019. Winning a coveted £100,000 prize, the museum has bagged Britain’s biggest single arts award, reports Lonely Planet.
Beating out top contenders like The Tate and The Natural History Museum, this heritage site emerged victorious despite receiving only a fraction of the visitors per year. Last year, the museum completed a £30 million redevelopment project, which has proved rewarding. The museum was awarded for showing “exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement”.
What does the Museum of The Year have to offer?
The structure stands in the grounds of the grand St Fagans Castle. Its exhibits highlight what everyday life was like for the common people throughout the history of Wales. A self-proclaimed ‘living museum’, it is spread out over a 100-acre space.
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Visitors can wander through 40 historical buildings that have been transported to the site from across the country. These range from Tudor merchant’s houses to a Victorian country school. Workshops through the museum have displays of traditional craftsmanship including blacksmithing, baking and clog making. To ensure a completely authentic experience, native breeds of livestock also roam the fields and farmyards.
Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director and chair of judges spoke highly of the museum. He said, the museum “lives and breathes the culture, history and identity of Wales” adding that he “couldn’t think of a single person who wouldn’t enjoy visiting this incredible place.”
Other contenders on the list for Museum of The Year
Top contenders on the shortlist included HMS Caroline, a museum set on a WWI naval ship, and Nottingham Contemporary, one of the largest contemporary arts centres in the UK. Additionally, the V&A Dundee, an innovative design museum, and the Pitt Rivers Museum, home to 60,000 archaeological and anthropological objects spanning every period of human history also featured on the list.