Record number of entries received for Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence 2015

Now in its 13th year, the prestigious awards give all organisations the chance to be recognised for their innovations, quality, passion, entrepreneurship and expertise.

Anna Preedy, Event Director said: “It is hugely inspiring to see how this sector continues to innovate, surprise and excel in the backdrop huge financial restraints.

“And it does this with determination and enthusiasm and without compromise to quality. “These awards really count as they are a direct endorsement by senior industry colleagues whose opinions matter.”

The entries will now be whittled down to a shortlist of 50, five for each of the 10 categories, and the seven judges, including three new additions, will begin the task of choosing the best of the best.

Making their debut will be Stephen Duncan, Commercial and Tourism Director for Historic Scotland, Diana Owen, Director of Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Maggie Appleton recently appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Air Force Museum.

They will be joined by esteemed stalwarts Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, Diane Lees, Director General of the Imperial War Museums, Matthew Tanner, Chairman of the Association of Independent Museum and Sam Mullins, Director of the London Transport Museum

The judges will be looking for evidence of ‘outcome, creativity, relation to objective and cost effectiveness’. Shortlisted entries will show all of these but the winners will also have demonstrated that something extra – true excellence.

The 10 categories are: Best Customer Service Award sponsored by BDRC Continental | Marketing Campaign | Permanent Exhibition sponsored by Martello Media | Temporary or Touring Exhibition | Educational Initiative sponsored by Arts Award | Project on a Limited Budget sponsored by Sweett Group | Innovations Award | Trading & Enterprise – the Winstan Bond Trophy supported by AIM | International Award sponsored by Martello Media | Restoration & Conservation sponsored by Fairhurst Ward Abbotts.

In 2015, M+H has also continued its partnership with the Guardian Culture Professionals Network to crown the UK’s most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction of the past 12 months. The nominations are now closed (also with record numbers) and we are counting up the votes to see which attractions will make the shortlist for this year’s Award. The shortlist will be announced in March and that’s when the voting turns to the readers of The Guardian, to choose their winner of this prestigious Award.

On M+H Awards’ night, guests will gather at the historic staterooms of 8 Northumberland Avenue in the heart of London to see who has triumphed.

Comedian Marcus Brigstocke will present the 2015 Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence on Wednesday, April 29.

The irrepressible stand-up star, a regular on TV, radio and the stage, will be tickling the fancy of 300 sector professionals to celebrate the impressive achievements of museums and heritage attractions across the UK and internationally.

Places are limited so make sure you book your seat early to avoid disappointment.