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Gallery named UK’s top museum

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    Hepworth WakefieldImage copyright Marc Atkins
    Image caption The Hepworth Wakefield is named after sculptor Barbara Hepworth and has some of her works

    The Hepworth Wakefield gallery in West Yorkshire has beaten the Tate Modern to be crowned the UK’s Museum of the Year.

    The venue, which opened six years ago, will receive a £100,000 prize from The Art Fund as well as the kudos that comes with winning the annual award.

    The Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar said it had been “a powerful force of energy from the moment it opened”.

    Tate Modern had been nominated after a year in which it attracted a record 5.8 million visitors and opened a new wing.

    But that was not enough to earn it the award at a ceremony at the British Museum in London on Wednesday.

    The other nominees were the Lapworth Museum of Geology in Birmingham, Sir John Soane’s Museum in London and the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in Suffolk.

    Image copyright Marc Atkins
    Image caption The Museum of the Year judges (with Hepworth director Simon Wallis) got tangled up in the JW Anderson exhibition
    Image copyright Marc Atkins
    Image caption The gallery sits on the banks of the River Calder

    The Hepworth, which is named after sculptor Barbara Hepworth, impressed the judges by increasing its visitor numbers by 21% and launching a major new award for British sculpture last year, among other things.

    Mr Deuchar praised the way the gallery had “kept growing in reach and impact” since it opened in a £35m building designed by David Chipperfield in 2011.

    He also complimented the “determined originality” of the curatorial team, and said it served its local community “with unfailing flair and dedication”.

    Last year saw it stage exhibitions of painter Stanley Spencer, photographer Martin Parr and art-pop installationist Anthea Hamilton.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionJonathan Anderson: The designer uniting Henry Moore and Christian Dior

    So far this year, it has had an exhibition curated by designer Jonathan Anderson, who brought together the worlds of fashion and sculpture.

    And it has just opened a show focusing on the late painter Howard Hodgkin’s fascination with India.

    It also recently took receipt of 50 artworks donated by collector and former BBC radio news journalist Tim Sayer, while a 65,000 sq ft (6,000 sq m) riverside garden is due to be created in its grounds.

    The Museum of the Year prize is the largest single arts prize in the UK. Last year’s winner was the V&A in London.

    The Art Fund aims to reward an institution that has shown “exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement across the preceding 12 months”.

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