The Awards scheme, now in its fourth year, shines a light on the most exceptional contributions to cultural life that these institutions offer, while also showcasing some of the world’s best emerging destinations.

This year, the 2017 Leading Culture Destinations Awards will have five sections and a new prize:

  • The Leading Culture Destinations of the Year which has five categories: Exhibition of the Year, Museum Architecture of the Year, Museum Restaurant of the Year,  Museum Shop of the Year and Digital Museum of the Year
  • Best New Museum of the Year which is dedicated to young museums and institutions with five regional categories: Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, North America, South & Central America
  • The Valletta 2018 Soft Power Destinations of the Year, which recognise the cultural organisation, activation, and district that have powerful influence and impact based on their excellence, relevance, transparency, accountability and sustainability
  • The Avis Travellers’ Awards for Emerging Culture City Of The Year and Art Hotel Of The Year

New for this year is:

  • The inaugural ‘Climate Smart’ Award* which will recognise an art institution or programming that has made a significant educational contribution to the fight against climate change.


  • The Sipsmith ‘Best Museum Late Night Experience’ Prize, which will shine a light on the transformation of museums into late night social hubs. This unique prize is not just recognising an organisation, but also functions as a best practice case study for other cultural destinations to engage the next generation of cultural nomads with similar, innovative programming.


The Leading Culture Destinations Awards nominees have been chosen for their vital contribution to the international cultural panorama. A visionary approach and offer are key factors considered; from audacious programming and management structures, to cross-sector collaborations and Michelin-starred restaurants, late night openings and music performances, as well as contribution to change and educate the local and global communities.

The nominations for this year continue to reflect the growing global trend for cultural relevance as people look for experiences that will enrich them in some way. Cultural destinations today are not only for art experiences and education; they have become social hubs for visitors to spend time, dine, shop, work and even sleep. Culture, now more than ever, is an integral part of our lifestyle.

An increasing number of cities in China and the Far East are providing serious competition against London, and New York, the historical world leaders in museums and cultural institutions, and the Leading Culture Destinations Awards shortlist reflects this. The shortlist has been has been carefully selected from a long list of nominations put together by our Ambassadors, 100 or more highly influential and travelled creative professionals.

A distinguished  jury panel (see footnotes for jury) will vote and agree the winners, who will be presented with a trophy designed by United Visual Artists at an award ceremony on Friday 29th September 2017 at the new Trafalgar St. James hotel.

Florian Wupperfeld, Co-founder of Leading Culture Destinations, commented: “We are delighted to announce the nominees for the fourth edition of the Leading Culture Destinations Awards, and are particularly excited to have brought the Climate Smart Award into the mix for the first time this year. Education on climate change is incredibly important for our sustainability, both environmentally and socially, so we felt it was right that we celebrate those who have made a significant impact in this area, offering a platform to discuss both the challenges and opportunities presented.”



Nominees Shortlist:

  • Exhibition of the Year
    • Song Dong: I don’t know the mandate of heaven at Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai, China)
    • Martin Creed: Say Cheese! at Museum Voorlinden (Wassenaar, Netherlands)
    • Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at Hirshhorn Museum (Washington DC, USA)


  • Museum Architecture of the Year
    • Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (Lisbon, Portugal)
    • Etihad Museum (Dubai, UAE)


  • Museum Restaurant of the Year
    • Fotografiska (Stockholm, Sweden)
    • Musee des Confluences (Lyon, France)
    • Nanjing Museum (Nanjing Bowuyuan, China)


  • Museum Shop of the Year
    • Museum of Old and New Art (Hobart, Australia)
    • Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, USA)
    • Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, USA)


  • Digital Museum of the Year
    • Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum (New York, USA)
    • American Museum of Natural History (New York, USA)
    • British Museum (London, UK)


  • Best New Museum of the Year – Middle East/ UAE / Africa
    • National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (Cairo, Egypt)
    • Etihad Museum (Dubai, UAE)


  • Best New Museum of the Year – Asia / Pacific
    • MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
    • Fosun Foundation (Beijing, China)
    • Jiangsu Art Museum (Nanjing, China)


  • Best New Museum of the Year – Europe
    • Centro Botín (Santander, Spain)
    • Design Museum (London, UK)
    • Museum Barberini (Potsdam, Germany)


  • Best New Museum of the Year – North America
    • Marciano Foundation (Los Angeles, USA)
    • Museum of the American Revolution (Philadelphia, USA)


  • Best New Museum of the Year – South & Central America
    • Museo del Holocausto (Guatemala City, Guatemala)
    • Museo Internacional del Barroco (Puebla, Mexico)
    • Casa Wabi (Puerto Escondido, Mexico)


  • Best Soft Power Cultural Organisation Award, presented by Valletta 2018
    • Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)
    • Papalote Museo del Nino (Mexico City, Mexico)
    • Museum of Tolerance (Los Angeles, USA)


  • Best Soft Power Cultural Activation Award, presented by Valletta 2018
    • Queensland Museum, World Science Festival Brisbane (Brisbane, Australia)
    • Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Art Less: The Davis without Immigrants (Wellesley, USA)
    • Cultural Journalism Campus (Wai Chai, Hong Kong)


  • Best Soft Power Cultural District Award, presented by Valletta 2018
    • Forest Park (St. Louis, USA)
    • Poblenou Urban District (Barcelona, Spain)
    • Watts Tower Arts Center (Los Angeles, USA)


  • Best Art Hotel of the Year, presented by Avis
    • 21c Hotels (various, USA)
    • The Walled Off Hotel (Bethlehem)
    • Beaumont Hotel (London, UK)


  • Best Emerging Culture City of the Year, presented by Avis
    • Athens, Greece
    • Montpellier, France
    • Tong Li, China


  • ‘Climate Smart Award’, in partnership with SUNx
    • ART + CLIMATE = CHANGE 2017, Climarte (Melbourne, Australia)
    • Climate Control at Manchester Museum (Manchester, UK)
    • Changing Earth, The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, USA)