NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: The Duchess of Cambridge headed to London’s Natural History Museum on Wednesday night to present the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award. The nearby Victoria & Albert Museum was this year’s winner.

A patron of the Natural History Museum, the duchess met with its director Michael Dixon, Dr. Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund and chair of the judging panel, and representatives from the five museums that competed for the title.

The V&A beat Arnolfini; Bethlem Museum of the Mind in London, and the York Art Gallery in Yorkshire. The Art Fund is a fund-raising charity that helps museums, galleries and institutions with funding to purchase works of art.

The duchess, who wore a cream, off-the-shoulder Barbara Casasola dress, is also a patron of the National Portrait Gallery and the Art Room.

The Art Fund awards the Museum of the Year prize annually to one outstanding museum which, according to the organization “has shown exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement across the previous 12 months.” The 100,000 pounds, or $130,000, award is the biggest museum prize in the world and the largest arts award in Britain.

Deuchar lauded the V&A’s achievements.

“Its recent exhibitions, from Alexander McQueen to The Fabric of India, and the opening of its new Europe 1600-1815 galleries, were all exceptional accomplishments — at once entertaining and challenging, rooted in contemporary scholarship, and designed to reach and affect the lives of a large and diverse national audience. It was already one of the best-loved museums in the country: This year it has indisputably become one of the best museums in the world,” he asserted.

The duchess is back in the U.K. after traveling to France last week with the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry to pay their respects to victims of war at a service to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

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