‘Truly inspirational’ Young V&A named Museum of the Year 2024

The Young V&A has netted £120,000 after being named Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024.

The funding is the single biggest museum prize in the world, with judges praising the Hackney museum for being “truly inspirational”.

The Young V&A beat four other finalists – Craven Museum in North Yorkshire, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Manchester Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Created alongside children, who worked as “co-designers”, the Young V&A aims to promote creativity among young people and to support art and design education.

A baby crawling through a pink furry tunnel in the Young V&A museum
The Young V&A opened in its current guise in June 2023 (Art Fund/PA)

The museum was originally called the V&A Museum of Childhood, but reopened under its new name July 2023, following £13 million of works.

It has almost 2,000 toys, characters, objects and artworks on display from around the world and across history.

Presenting the award at a ceremony at London’s National Gallery, TV presenter Vick Hope hailed the Young V&A as “a special and unique place”, and added she “can’t recommend it enough”.

She said: “The museum truly places young people centre stage, encouraging them to play, design and get creative through a fascinating collection of objects and artworks.

“In such a short time the Young V&A’s global impact has been really incredible, demonstrating the potential of what museums can be for children around the world.”

The award was also welcomed by newly appointed culture secretary Lisa Nandy.

She said: “Our world-leading museums are a source of creativity and curiosity that can inspire lifelong passions for learning, history and the arts.

“This year’s Art Fund Museum of the Year was a tough competition with an exciting shortlist representing institutions from across the country.

“Congratulations to the Young V&A on this achievement, recognising their hard work to create a unique space dedicated to young people.”

Inside the entrance of the Young V&A museum with people at tables and a large central spiral staircase leading to a mezzanine floor and window
The Young V&A will be awarded £120,000 (Art Fund/PA)

Jenny Waldman, Art Fund director and chairwoman of the judges for Museum of the Year, hailed the attraction as being “the world’s most joyful museum”.

She said: “Young V&A is a truly inspirational museum. With a brief from its young co-designers to create ‘the world’s most joyful museum’, Young V&A has achieved that and more.

“It has radically reimagined the museum with and for young people, creating a museum experience that’s active, empowering and dynamic, centred on learning through play.

“Young V&A has established a deep engagement with its local community and, at the same time, it has become an international beacon for what a children’s museum can be.

“I give my warmest congratulations to the fantastic team at Young V&A on being crowned Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024.

“You truly are the world’s most joyful museum and will inspire young people now and for generations to come.”

The award comes after the museum’s current manga exhibition was visited by the Emperor and Empress of Japan in June.

Along with the winner’s prize, each finalist will also be granted £15,000 in funding, making the total prize money awarded £180,000, after it was increased in 2023 to mark 120 years of the Art Fund supporting museums.

Prizes are funded by Art Fund members who buy a National Art Pass, which gives them discounts and benefits at museums across the country.