Hertford Museum is in the running for the Art Fund Prize 2011, the UK’s largest arts prize. It is among ten museums to be long listed for the prestigious £100,000 award.
The Art Fund Prize 2011 rewards excellence and innovation in museums and galleries across the UK for a project completed or undertaken in 2010. Following a short list of four museums to be announced on 19 May, the £100,000 cash prize will be awarded to the ‘Museum of the Year’ at a ceremony on 15 June.
Hertford Museum has been selected this year for the Hertford Museum Development Project.
Helen Giles, Curator of Hertford Museum, said: “What wonderful news for everyone at Hertford Museum! Being long listed for the Art Fund Prize is such an honour. To be recognised in such a way is really special to all the staff, volunteers and supporters of the museum who all had a unique contribution to make to our development project. This is a great success story that we can now add to the museum’s long history.”
The other nine long listed institutions are:
British Museum, London, A History of the World
Leighton House, London, Closer To Home: The Restoration and Reopening of Leighton House Museum
Mostyn, Llandudno, Wales, Refurbishment and extension of Mostyn gallery
People’s History Museum, Manchester, The new People’s History Museum 201
Polar Museum, University of Cambridge, Promoting Britain’s Polar Heritage
The new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway
Roman Baths Museum, Bath, Roman Baths Development
V&A, London, Ceramics Study Galleries
Yorkshire Museum, York, Letting in the Light – Revitalising the Yorkshire Museum for the 21st century
Michael Portillo, Chair of the Judges, said: “Making the selection was far from easy, out of an extensive list of strong entries. The result shows a wide geographical spread with museums from Scotland, Wales and a strong representation in the North of England. Equally remarkable is the variety of institutions included from the tiny Hertford Museum to the V&A and British Museum. Subject matter is equally diverse, ranging from contemporary art spaces to the history of polar exploration. We now look forward to visiting these outstanding examples of excellence and innovation in the museum world with a view to announcing the short list on 19 May. We also look forward to taking account of the public vote which people can participate in online.”
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “The Art Fund Prize annually champions the most fascinating, challenging and engaging new museum projects in the UK. As ever, our panel of judges had a tough job selecting a long list from a strong set of applications, but they finally came to the unanimous decision in favour of these ten museums and galleries, each encapsulating excellence and innovation, albeit all in very different ways. We hope people will go and be inspired by these spectacular projects, and that they’ll come back and let us know their thoughts via our online poll. The coming weeks will be crucial for the judges in assessing which museums make it onto the short list. The public’s participation has an important part to play.”
The other judges are: Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE, theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster; Jeremy Deller, artist; Kathy Gee, museums and heritage consultant; Charlotte Higgins, journalist and author; Lars Tharp, Foundling Museum curator, broadcaster and Antiques Roadshow expert and Lola Young, Baroness Young of Hornsey, Independent Cross Bench peer and writer, cultural critic, public speaker and broadcaster.
The judges will visit the ten long listed museums before meeting to decide on the short list. They will all take part in official visits but will also be free to visit institutions incognito.
This is the fourth year that the Prize has been sponsored by the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for works of art.
Art Fund Prize Online Poll
Following from the success of the public vote last year, a poll for the 2011 Art Fund Prize will open tonight. Members of the public are invited to vote online at artfundprize.org.uk for their favourite long listed museum – and tell the judges who they think should win.