Outreach of five museums to £100k prize
Five museums from Glasgow to St Ives, each new or renewed and dedicated to bringing new audiences to their collections, have been shortlisted for the £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year award https://www.artfund.org.
They are the Brooklands Museum at Weybridge, Surrey (main image, all pictures by Marc Atkins); Tate St Ives; Glasgow Women’s Library; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; and the Postal Museum in London. The four runners-up will each receive £10,000.
“Each of our five finalists has tapped into very current concerns: the progress of Glasgow Women’s Library exemplifies the quickening march towards equality; the Postal Museum addresses our first social network; Brooklands is inspiring the next generation of engineers; and the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull and Tate St Ives are galvanising their communities around visual culture” said Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund and chair of the judges. “Each one expands the very idea of what a museum can be. I would encourage everyone to see and experience them first-hand."
Brooklands Museum https://www.brooklandsmuseum.com is on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit and has had its most radical remake since it opened 27 years ago. It now includes a restored listed hangar whose displays trace the history of aircraft design, and the race track’s finishing straight on which pioneer racing cars can still be put through their paces.
Ferens Art Gallery https://www.hull2017.co.uk/whatson/venue/ferens-gallery/,built by a local magnate in 1927, was at the centre of Hull’s year as City of Culture last year, following a £5.2m refurbishment devised to invite more families and younger visitors. In 2017 it trebled its visitor numbers to more than 500,000.
Glasgow Women’s Library https://womenslibrary.org.uk, founded in a small shop front with no public funding, celebrated 25 years in 2017, moving into a listed city centre building after it has had a £1.8m make-over. Its collections, from suffragette memorabilia to knitting patterns, have been donated, and is now commissioning new work. Last year it doubled its visitor numbers.
The Postal Museum https://www.postalmuseum.org opened in London at the former distribution centre at Mount Pleasant, Clerkenwell, six months ago to give the social history of one of Britain’s most famous inventions, the post. Its quirky collections include London’s 100-year-old underground postal railway, and it has so far had 75,000 visitors.
Tate St Ives http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-st-ives emerged last October from a £20m refurbishment and extension, developed following engagement with the local community. It tells the story of the unique groups of 20thcentury artists who settled and visited the Cornish fishing town, including Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Peter Lanyon, and international figures such as Piet Mondrian and Naum Gabo.
The winner will be announced on July 5.