A long list of eleven museums and galleries are in the running to win the £100,000 Art Fund Prize, the UKs largest single arts prize. The long list has been selected by a panel of Judges chaired this year by broadcaster Kirsty Young. Traditionally the long list comprises ten, but for the 2010 Prize eleven institutions are nominated, attesting to the high quality and volume of applications received.
The £100,000 prize is awarded to the museum or gallery for a project completed in the last year, that the Judges deem demonstrates the most originality, imagination and excellence. The Prize, which has been sponsored by the UKs leading independent art charity, The Art Fund, for three years, aims to increase public appreciation and enjoyment of the UKs museums and galleries.
The eleven long-listed museums and galleries are:
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
An ambitious redevelopment of one of the great university museums of the world that extends and enhances public access to its remarkable collections of art and archaeology.
Blists Hill Victorian Town, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
The transformation of a fifty-four acre site, part of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, which interprets life in a typical town of the East Shropshire Coalfield around 1900.
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle
Three outstanding collections of natural history, Roman and Anglo-Saxon archaeology and Greek and Etruscan Art and Archaeology have been combined for the first time to create a major new museum for the North of England.
Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, for Henry VIII: heads and hearts
In 2009 Historic Royal Palaces celebrated the 500th anniversary of Henry VIIIs accession with the most ambitious programme of exhibitions, events, displays and preparatory conservation work that it had ever staged at the Kings former royal residence.
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry
A long-established regional museum has been transformed through a major redevelopment which is reaching new audiences and has become a fresh focus for local pride.
The Leach Pottery, St Ives
The rescue and restoration of the most influential studio pottery in the world, founded in 1920 by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada in the Cornish fishing village of St Ives.
The National Army Museum, London, for Conflicts of Interest
A new exhibition exploring the impact of 40 years of conflict on Britains soldiers and civilians worldwide is designed to capture history as it happens and to allow visitors to contribute to its evolution.
The Natural History Museum, London, for the Darwin Centre
An awe inspiring new public space and state-of-the-art science and collections facility that allows visitors to explore world-class science in action. The most significant expansion at the Natural History Museum since it moved to South Kensington in 1881.
The Royal Institution of Great Britain, for Science in the Making
The important scientific collections of the 200-year old Royal Institution have been brought to life in a new exhibition as part of a major refurbishment and enlargement of the Grade I listed building, supporting the Institutions mission of making science accessible to all.
The rebirth of a long-established local authority gallery as a stunning new public art space for Eastbourne and the leading centre for visual arts in the South East.
The Ulster Museum, Belfast
Part of the National Museums Northern Ireland, the Ulster Museum has reopened following a three-year redevelopment that has fundamentally reshaped the character of this major museum.
Kirsty Young, Chair of the Judges comments: My fellow Judges and I deliberated passionately and at length, and even then it was impossible to select fewer than eleven for the long list. The quality of applications was simply outstanding. We are delighted with our selection and feel that this years long list demonstrates a snapshot of the UKs incredible cultural offerings.
Stephen Deuchar, Director of The Art Fund, comments: This years long-listed museums and galleries have shown such depth of imagination and drive; they are a testament to the wealth of culture on offer right across the UK. I for one cant wait to see how the judges journeys unfold from now until the end of June when the winner is announced.
The Judges will travel the UK to visit each of the eleven long-listed museums and galleries before selecting a short list of four, to be announced at the end of May 2010. The winner of the £100,000 prize will be announced on Wednesday 30 June 2010 at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.
The 2010 judging panel comprises:
Kirsty Young (Chairman), broadcaster
Kathy Gee, museums and heritage adviser
Professor A C Grayling, Professor of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, London
Professor J Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics, University College London
Sally Osman, communications consultant and former Director of Communications, BBC
Lars Tharp, Director, The Foundling Museum and BBC Antiques Roadshow expert
Jonathan Yeo, artist
The public can vote for their favourite long-listed institution and leave comments for the Judges on the Art Fund Prize website telling the Judges why they should win. The poll results and online comments will be given to the Judges for their consideration when selecting the Short List and Winner. Visitors to the website can enter an exclusive competition to win a limited edition Jonathan Yeo print.
To vote, comment or for more information about the Prize go to: www.artfundprize.org.uk
Sky Arts returns as the TV Media partner for this years Art Fund Prize and will go behind the scenes in a 30 minute documentary that will broadcast on Sky Arts 2 HD throughout May and June. The documentary will take a look at each of the long-listed museums and galleries and follows the developing story as the panel of judges visit the eleven venues all vying for the prestigious £100,000 prize.