A unique exhibition created by soldiers, a groundbreaking new space that brings together medicine, life and art and a remarkable collection of 20th Century British art displayed in a series of historic harbour-side buildings are among the 10 museums and galleries that have made it onto this year’s long list for The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries. They compete for the £100,000 prize, which is awarded to the museum or gallery whose project demonstrates the most originality, imagination and excellence.
The diverse list of museums and galleries in the running for The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries 2008 (formerly The Gulbenkian Prize) includes two museums that played a major role in the commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery, an entirely volunteer-led project overlooking the Exe Estuary in Devon, four leading London venues and two museums from Scotland’s most northerly islands.
The 10 long-listed museums and galleries are:
The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, Bristol, for ‘Breaking the Chains’
A powerful and memorable commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade, which demonstrates the humanity of those enslaved by the transatlantic trade.
The British Library, London, for ‘Sacred – Discover What We Share’
This highly acclaimed exhibition brought together the world’s greatest collection of Jewish, Christian and Islamic holy texts together side by side for the first time.
International Slavery Museum, Liverpool
This new museum, which opened in August 2007, uses the largely hidden story of the transatlantic slave trade to explore issues such as freedom, identity, human rights, racism and cultural change.
The Lightbox gallery and museum, Woking
Developed with strong community involvement, this contemporary space combines an innovative approach to presenting local history with a dynamic display of modern art.
London Transport Museum, London
A £22 million transformation of one of London’s most iconic cultural attractions, the new Museum explores the powerful link between transport and the growth of London, its culture and society since 1800.
The National Army Museum, London, for ‘Helmand: The Soldiers’ Story’
This unique exhibition, created by soldiers, explores the British army’s first campaign in Afghanistan’s Taleban heartland, Helmand Province.
The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney
The redesigned Centre on an historic harbour-side houses a remarkable collection of 20th Century British art and hosts a contemporary programme of exhibition, educational and outreach events.
Shetland Museum and Archives, Lerwick, Shetland
Set within a restored 19th Century dock, the Shetland Museum and Archives tells the fascinating story of Britain’s most northerly group of islands – from its geological beginnings to the present day.
Topsham Museum, Exeter, for the River Gallery Project
The River Gallery Project transformed the entirely volunteer-run Topsham Museum, creating a new gallery to house historic local boats and displays reflecting the local history of the Exe Estuary.
Wellcome Collection, London
This groundbreaking new space is devoted to exploring the connections between medicine, life and art. Over 1,500 exhibits, spanning six centuries, shine light on the past, present and future of medicine and contemplate our changing relationship with our bodies.
This is the first year that The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity has sponsored this major arts prize, which is open to all accredited museums and galleries in the UK. The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries recognises and stimulates originality and excellence in museums and galleries and aims to increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer.