Here’s the shortlist

By | Category: Travel news

The shortlist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 has been announced.

Firstsite in Colchester. Image – Fistsite

This year there is no space for Welsh museum on the shortlist but Norther Ireland is represented by the Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry.

The other four on the shortlist are:

  • Experience Barnsley, Barnsley
  • Firstsite, Colchester
  • Timespan, Helmsdale
  • Thackray Museum of Medicine, Leeds

For those unfamiliar with Timespan, Helmsdale isn’t in Yorkshire or Cumbria as the name might suggest but in Scotland, about seventy miles north of Inverness.

The other three are all in England.

As readers will know, the eventual winner of the award receives £100,000 making it the world’s largest museum prize. The other four are each assured of £15,000 in recognition of reaching the shortlist.

Sounding like a tourist information site, Experience Barnsley is part of Barnsley museums and is less than ten years old. It traces the known history of Barnsley from pre-historic times to the 21st century and calls itself a museum and discovery centre.

In Northern Ireland, the Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry delivers what it says on the label. It exhibits emerging artists from the province

Firstsite in the Essex city of Colchester claims to “disrupt the way we and our visitors experience the world” by providing new creative opportunities and promoting “imaginative responses to contemporary issues.”

Timespan describes itself as “a local history museum, contemporary art programme, geology and herb gardens, shop, bakery and cafe…to make art and heritage work meaningfully for our constituents and village and as tools for global cultural and social change.” With under 900 residents, the town has succeeded in creating a local centre for the community rather than just a museum.

Although based in an old Victorian workhouse, the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds only opened in 1997 giving the impression that it is much older than it is. It was then connected with hospitals until the 1990’s so it is appropriate that it is now a museum to remind us of the contributions of medicine. Last year, the conference centre was used as a COVID-19 vaccination area. It has re-opened after a year-long refit which became two years due to lockdown

The winner will be announced in September.

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