Department for Culture, Media and Sport
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Ten museums could win £100k prize

From Edinburgh to Exeter and from cryptography to contemporary sculpture, ten museums are in the running for the UK’s biggest prize for arts and cultural institutions.

The longlist for the £100,000 Art Fund Prize, now in its tenth year, was announced recently. The museums vying for the title of Museum of the Year, which include four newly-opened museums, are:

  • Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes
  • M Shed, Bristol
  • National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Riverside Museum, Scotland’s Museum of Transport and Travel, Glasgow
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter
  • The Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire
  • The Holburne Museum, Bath
  • The National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh 
  • Turner Contemporary, Margate
  • Watts Gallery, Guildford

The Art Fund Prize 2012 will reward excellence and innovation in a museum or gallery in the UK for a project completed or undertaken in 2011. Last year, the British Museum took home the prize for its groundbreaking joint project with the BBC, A History of the World.

The contenders were selected by a panel of judges chaired by Lord Chris Smith and including members such as broadcaster and curator Dr Lucy Worsley.

Lord Smith said: “Whittling the achievements of Britain’s museums over the past year down to a list of ten was an unbelievably challenging task. The outstanding quality of the projects that we finally settled on, however, perfectly encapsulates the vitality and dynamism of a part of our nation’s cultural life that continues to innovate, push boundaries and engage the public, even in these straitened times.”

Members of the public can now give their views on which museum should scoop the prize on an online forum launched this week. A shortlist of four museums will be announced in May and the cash prize will be awarded on 19 June.

The longlist for the annual Clore Award for Museum Learning, organised under the umbrella of the Art Fund Prize, has also been announced. Supported by the Clore Duffield Foundation, the £10,000 award celebrates museum and gallery learning initiatives.

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