Museum of the year

By | Category: Travel news
In remembrance poppies at the Tower of London

Crowds in a procession around the Tower viewing the ceramic poppies © Nadia Lawes

It’s that time of the year again. The time when the Art Fund announces the shortlist that go forward to be named Museum of the Year and pick up the £100,000 first prize.

The first of the finalists is Dunham Massey in Altrincham in Cheshire. A Georgian mansion owned by the National Trust tis was transformed back to what it was 100 years ago, Stamford Military Hospital.

Given the year and the fact that we are remembering the first world war, the premier museum that records our past in times of conflict, the Imperial war Museum or IWM as it seems to prefer to be known these days is nominated. After a £40 million renovation last year, the IWM re-opened last July and proved as popular as ever.

Also in London is the third nominee, the Tower of London. For almost 950 years this landmark has stood by the Thames and although it has altered and been added to, the man who built it, William the Conqueror would still recognise the White Tower. Last year it achieved additional fame – if that is at all possible as every schoolchild is aware of it – by having hundreds of thousands of ceramic poppies “planted” around it. Anyone who saw the sight in the flesh couldn’t fail to be moved by the sight.

A few years ago, a previous winner of the prize was the Ulster Museum in Belfast. Now another Belfast landmark, the MAC, has also been nominated. This contemporary art gallery is a recent addition to the arts scene in the province but has already attracted world-wide attention.

One of the oldest museums in the country, the Oxford Museum of Natural History, was another attraction that re-opened to the public last year. After renovation there as well, the public can once again visit the place that Lewis Carroll often visited and where wireless telegraphy was first demonstrated.

The final nomination is for another old favourite, the Whitworth in Manchester. This also has undergone a  change, a change costing £15 million which has resulted in its doubling in size – and while it was closed, ran a series of experimental pop-up events..

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Tate Modern on Wednesday 1 July 2015, following the Museum of the Year Debate.

In a new partnership with the BBC, the Museum of the Year will be celebrated on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and BBC News Online, in a series of broadcasts.

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