LONDON, UK.- Working class heritage celebrated in shortlist for £100,000 arts prize. The UK’s industrial and working class heritage is celebrated in the shortlist for Britain’s biggest single arts prize, The Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year, announced.
Six of the ten shortlisted museums, which cover the length and breadth of the British Isles, owe much to the fast-vanishing heavy industry of the UK. They include a restored pit in south Wales; the new National Railway Museum in County Durham; the reworked Transport Museum in Coventry, home of the motor industry; 19 th century Back to Back housing in Birmingham; a new museum based on the fishing industry in Great Yarmouth; and a community project in north Devon centred on the local furniture manufacturer.
They compete with the lavish new galleries at Compton Verney, a testament to one man’s lifelong passion for art, a multi-million pound building programme at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, London’s newly-opened Foundling Museum, and a tiny community project on the recently storm-swept island of North Uist.
Nine of the ten projects have been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, demonstrating how additional funding can transform the UK’s museums and galleries.
The shortlist (in alphabetical order by city/town) is as follows:
Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon for Shapland & Petter of Barnstaple: 150 years
Big Pit, National Mining Museum of Wales, Blaenafon
National Trust West Midlands for Back to Backs, Birmingham
The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge for its Courtyard Development
Compton Verney, Warwickshire
Coventry Transport Museum
Time and Tide, Museum of Great Yarmouth Life, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk .
Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Art Gallery, Lochmaddy, North Uist for its Carn Chearsabhagh Project
The Foundling Museum, London
Locomotion: the National Railway Museum at Shildon, Co Durham
Chair of Judges and Rector of Imperial College London, Sir Richard Sykes, comments: "This year's shortlist proves again that throughout the country, museums and galleries, both large and small, are alive and well. Not only that, they are constantly looking to innovate, with new and imaginative offerings for the visiting public."