FIRSTSITE has won the coveted Art Fund Museum of the Year award, scooping the £100,000 prize money.

The prize was presented to the High Street gallery’s director Sally Shaw at a ceremony at London's Science Museum this evening.

The gallery has received praise for its community work, having offered free school meals to children during the school holidays and providing art parks.

Art Fund annually selects five outstanding museums for the prize and this year’s edition reflects the resilience and imagination of the institutions throughout the pandemic.

At this moment of museums re-opening and starting their recovery, the 2021 prize highlights and rewards the extraordinary ways in which they have, over the troublesome past year, served and connected with their communities.

Throughout the pandemic, Firstsite launched Art is Where the Home Is - a series of free activity packs featuring more than 50 artists - which was downloaded by 92,000 households.

In response to Black Lives Matter it commissioned artist Elsa James to make a downloadable work in solidarity and celebrated black culture in Essex.

It beat fellow competitors Centre for Contemporary Art Derry, Experience Barnsley, The Thackray Museum of Medicine and Timespan to the top prize.