The Victoria& Albert Museum has pledged to support smaller museums across the country after being named the Museum of the Year 2016.
The judges said the London-based V& A had “indisputably become one of the best museums in the world”.
It was announced as the win by the Duchess of Cambridge at a ceremony at the Natural History Museum.
The 100,000 award is the world’s biggest museum prize and the largest single arts award in the UK.
Martin Roth, the V& A’s director, said he was “totally overwhelmed” at the win and that it was a compliment to the work of museum’s staff.
“There are a lot of smaller museums that do any amazing job, ” he told the guests in the Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall, home to the casting of the famous Diplodocus skeleton.
“We thought it’s great happening there on the shortlist, but the other ones deserve the award and the money.”
Roth immediately announced that the V& A would use the prize money to re-establish a department – originally set up in the 1970 s, but later axed in budget cuts – to support and collaborate with museums and galleries across the country.
“That was the idea then and we need it even more now, ” he told the BBC shortly after his acceptance speech. “It comes at the right moment with Brexit and the other problems that we have – we need solidarity, we need to work together.”
He acknowledged the referendum vote to the leave the EU had worried him and others at the V& A. “It’s the unknown, ” he told, “It feels like skiing in very thick fog.”
He added that he had already received letters from potential funders “asking if we can set things on hold”.
The V& A was picked from five finalists. The others on the shortlist were:
Arnolfini, Bristol Bethlem Museum of the Mind, London Jupiter Artland, West Lothian York Art Gallery, Yorkshire Image caption Image caption