The Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been named the UK's best museum.

The attraction at Bretton was handed the accolade at last night's Art Fund awards at the National Gallery in London.

As well as the honour, the park also receives a funding boost in the shape of £100,000.

The prize was presented by the celebrated British film and theatre director, Sam Mendes.

Sam Mendes, left, with YSP director of programmes Claire Lilley, executive director Peter Murray and (right) the director of the Art Fun and chair of judges Stephen Deuchar
Sam Mendes, left, with YSP director of programmes Claire Lilley, executive director Peter Murray and (right) the director of the Art Fun and chair of judges Stephen Deuchar
 

Picking the YSP over five other shortlisted attractions, the judges said they believed the park was a truly outstanding museum with a bold artistic vision, consistently delivered at the highest level.

They remarked upon the overwhelming mix of sensory experience – created by the harmonious integration of learning, landscape and sculpture, and brought to life with works by artists including Julian Opie, Henry Moore and James Turrell.

The judges said the Yinka Shonibare exhibition, the sensitive restoration of a beautiful 18 century chapel, and installation of Roger Hiorns’ Seizure 2008/2013 were the crowning highlights of 2013 – the culmination of a 40 year journey of steady, strong and visionary leadership that has firmly positioned "this outstanding museum as a world leader."

Roger Hiorns' Seizure on show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Roger Hiorns' Seizure on show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
 

Stephen Deuchar, chair of the judges, said: “A perfect fusion of art and landscape, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park has gone from modest beginning to one of the finest outdoor museums one might ever imagine. In 2013 it really came of age – with art projects such as Yinka Shonibare’s extraordinary exhibition; the fruits of the expansion and consolidation of the landscape on both sides of the lake; and with the conversion of the chapel to house (as its inaugural exhibition) a major new work by Ai Weiwei.”

 

Announcing the winner, Sam Mendes said: “I'm genuinely honoured to have been asked to be a part of announcing this award. The dedication, love, and unbelievable creativity of the six candidates for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year are clear for all to see, as is the creative health of the UK Museum community as a whole. Financial health is a different matter, however -- and in that respect this award is a crucially important boost to one deserving organisation."

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park was chosen from a shortlist of six finalists: Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, East Sussex; Hayward Gallery, London; the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth; Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich; Tate Britain, London; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield.

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

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