Young V&A in Bethnal Green © Luke Hayes
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Bethnal Green’s Young V&A has been shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024

After less than a year of being open, Young V&A in Bethnal Green has been shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024.

Young V&A, the UK’s first museum created with and for children, is one of the five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2024, the world’s largest museum prize.

The museum opened in July 2023, following a £13 million redevelopment of the previously named Museum of Childhood, East London’s oldest museum. Since launching, it has welcomed over 90,376 people, a 223% increase on the previous museum’s figures for the same period in 2019-20.

The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony at the National Gallery in London on 10 July and will receive £120,000. £15,000 will be given to each of the four other finalists – bringing the total prize money to £180,000.

Tasked by children to make ‘the world’s most joyful museum’, Young V&A offers three active, innovative permanent galleries (Play, Imagine and Design), a dynamic temporary exhibition space and beautifully restored Grade II listed architectural features dating back 150 years.

Housing almost 2,000 toys, objects and artworks from around the world and across history, the museum is a colourful celebration of childhood, encouraging young people, up to the age of 14, to embrace their creative side.

Dr Helen Charman, Director of Young V&A, said: ‘It’s been a thrilling year of firsts for Young V&A – and we’re delighted to be in the running for Art Fund’s prestigious Museum of the Year prize, alongside a brilliant range of finalists. 

‘Young V&A is an uplifting, child-centred space to have fun, be imaginative, and take inspiration from the V&A’s incredible collections. It’s an honour to be recognised by Art Fund for this, and we can’t wait to welcome the judges – and more people – to experience Young V&A.’ 

The other four shortlisted museums are Craven Museum (Skipton, North Yorkshire); Dundee Contemporary Arts (Dundee); Manchester Museum (Manchester) and National Portrait Gallery (London).

Children looking into Build It at the Play Gallery in the Young V&A
The Play Gallery at the Young V&A © Luke Hayes

If you enjoyed this article, read our review of ‘Endometriosis: Into the Unknown’ at The Vagina Museum

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