Thackray European Museum of the Year 2023


Thackray Museum of Medicine wins special award at European Museum of the Year 2023

10th May 2023

Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds has been given a special commendation at European Museum of the Year by the European Forum, following an outstanding year of exhibitions and community engagement.

The prestigious awards ceremony took place in Barcelona on Saturday May 6th 2023, with Thackray Museum of Medicine joining museums from across Europe to claim the prize.

The award which praises the museum for creating ‘meaningful connections and promoting social inclusion’, and for being a ‘transformative force for bringing together people of diverse backgrounds’ is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the museum’s staff and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly – from the conceptualisation of the museum’s £4m redevelopment to its achievements since re-opening – to deliver an exceptional experience for everyone who visits and, moreover, its local community.

2023 has been a remarkable year for Thackray Museum of Medicine, with a series of successful exhibitions and events drawing record numbers of visitors. The launch of the Private Parts exhibition in January, followed by the Behind the Microscope exhibition in February half-term and an incredible Easter holiday welcoming over 4,000 people, has helped the museum exceed its pre-Covid visitor numbers for the first time.

In addition to innovative exhibitions and programming, the museum’s community space, The Core, has re-opened following a long-term residency with NHS partners, and the museum’s partnership project with Leeds 2023 and Sable Radio, Culture Club, has been working with young people to explore the museum’s collection and share their stories in new, creative ways.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have received this special commendation,” said Edward Appleyard, Chief Executive of Thackray Museum of Medicine. “This is a tremendous honour and recognition of the hard work and dedication of our staff and volunteers, as well as the support of our local community.”

“Our mission at Thackray Museum of Medicine is to engage and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds with the fascinating history of medicine and healthcare,” Edward continued.

“We believe that our success in achieving this mission has been reflected in the record numbers of visitors we have welcomed this year and the positive feedback we have received from the local community. This award is a testament to the power of museums to educate, entertain, inspire and connect people from all walks of life.”

Thackray Museum of Medicine looks forward to continuing to provide an exceptional experience for visitors and engaging with the local community in the months and years to come.

Quote from EMYA “The first special commendation goes to Thackray Museum of Medicine, a museum that serves not only as a learning space for exploring past healthcare practices and medical heritage but also as a transformative force for bringing together people from diverse backgrounds. Located in one of the most deprived areas for employment, education, and housing, it takes proactive measures to engage with underprivileged communities, seeking ways to create meaningful connections and promote social cohesion.”


About Thackray Museum of Medicine

Formerly the Leeds Union Workhouse, Thackray Museum of Medicine is now one of the UK’s largest medical museums and the only one of its kind in the north of England, welcoming over one million visitors. After a £4m capital development to realign the museum’s offer with visitor

expectations, creating a venue for discovery and debate, designed for, and with, a diverse 21st century audience. Thackray was shortlisted for the Art fund Museum of the Year award 2021 and has just been nominated for the European Museum of the Year Awards 2023, the only UK institution to be shortlisted. As a registered charity, the museum’s continued success relies on the generosity and support of trusts, individuals and corporate sponsors, Friends and Members, fundraising activities, admission fees, and the support of the Thackray Medical Research Trust. It is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

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