Friday, 16 October 2015
LCD of the Year: MOMA

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Museum of Modern Art crowned LCD of the Year 2015

On Friday 9th October at the 2015 edition of the Leading Culture Destinations Awards, New York’s Museum of Modern Art was certainly the winner of the evening, taking home both the award for Digital Experience and the top prize for Leading Culture Destination of the Year.

While MoMa may well be considered a usual suspect in the line-up of nominees, what sets it apart so much so that other giants, notably the Louvre in Paris, failed to make even the shortlist?

To begin with, the museum’s win in the digital experience category can hardly come as a surprise considering MoMA has the largest social media following of any museum, with roughly two million followers on Twitter and Facebook, and almost a million on Instagram.

A forerunner in the digitalisation of the museum experience, MoMa boasts numerous digital platforms including an online marketplace for their publications, the MoMA Books App; an app for children to create their own art inspired by the museum’s collection, the MoMa Art Lab; a mobile platform offering curatorial and artist commentaries in nine languages, MoMa’s Audio+; as well as the iPhone app allowing visitors to personalize their experiences by taking photos and creating their own tours and digital collections.

“The digital experience is about engaging our audiences and the communities around us in ways that are provocative, different, sometimes surprising, and that encourage new ways of seeing and thinking about modern and contemporary art”, says Director of Digital Strategy and Content, Fiona Romeo.

Undoubtedly, these efforts to make modern art more accessible have been met with astounding success. Whilst three million people visit the museum every year, a staggering 25 million engage with it through its online platforms.

But aside from achieving success in digital innovation, the Museum of Modern Art was also crowned Leading Culture Destination of the Year at Friday’s award ceremony in recognition of the museum’s diverse offerings.

From major collecting during the past decade, including the acquisition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s archive and the Gilbert and Lila Silverman collection of about three thousand items, to an expansion project in 2004 led by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi that saw the museum’s exhibition space doubled, MoMa has pursued an ambitious trajectory that is set to continue with further expansions and the development of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.

A veritable New York institution, MoMa also boasts Danny Meyer’s Michelin-starred restaurant The Modern, and has revolutionized the concept of the museum shop with five retail spaces in the city that received 2.5 million visitors last year, almost as many as the museum itself.

With further accolades presented on Friday evening in the categories Exhibitions and Programming, Architecture and Spatial Design, Shop, and Eat and Drink, MoMa was celebrated for its successes across the board and for embodying the gospel that museums should strive to become multi-faceted hubs of social and cultural activity.

So what can we expect from next year’s awards? There is no doubt about the scheme’s growing international appeal, as we saw with the debut of the Best Emerging Culture Destination Awards, a category recognising new players on the global cultural scene. MoMA publisher Christopher Hudson is in complete accord; in his view, the next big trend is the increasing internationalisation of museums and their collections.