Bletchley Park has today been longlisted for the Art Fund Prize 2012, the UK’s annual ‘museum of the year’ award, and the biggest prize for arts and cultural organisations in the country. Ten museums in total across the country are in with the chance to win £100,000 and the prestigious award, which will be announced on 19 June 2012.
Bletchley Park has been nominated for its exhibition ‘The Life and Works of Alan Turing’, its acclaimed presentation of recently discovered papers and objects relating to the genius cryptographer who is widely credited as one of the foremost saviours of Britain’s war effort during the Second World War.
Iain Standen, CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust, welcomed the announcement saying, “It is an enormous privilege for the Bletchley Park Trust that the Turing Exhibition has been long-listed for this highly prestigious award. I am delighted that this nomination, very fittingly in the Turing Centenary Year, will bring greater attention to the short but brilliant life and work of Alan Turing.”
Lord Smith of Finsbury, Chair of the Judges, said: “Whittling the achievements of Britain’s museums over the past year down to a list of ten was an unbelievably challenging task. The outstanding quality of the projects that we finally settled on, however, perfectly encapsulates the vitality and dynamism of a part of our nation’s cultural life that continues to innovate, push boundaries and engage the public, even in these straitened times.”
The ten longlisted museums are:
· Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, Bucks.: The Life and Works of Alan Turing
· M Shed, Bristol: A New Museum for Bristol
· National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh: National Museum of Scotland Development
· Riverside Museum, Scotland’s Museum of Transport and Travel, Glasgow: Riverside Museum Project
· Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, Devon: RAMM Development Project
· The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, West Yorkshire: The Hepworth Wakefield
· The Holburne Museum, Bath, Somerset: The Holburne Museum Development Project
· The National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh: Portrait of the Nation
· Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent: Turner Contemporary
· Watts Gallery, Guildford, Surrey: The Watts Gallery Hope Project
The Art Fund Prize 2012 rewards excellence and innovation in museums and galleries in the UK for a project completed or undertaken in 2011. Following a shortlist of four museums to be announced on 14 May, the £100,000 cash prize will be awarded to the ‘Museum of the Year’ at a ceremony at the British Museum on 19 June. The annual prize has been awarded since 2003.
Penelope, Viscountess Cobham, Chairman of The Museum Prize Trust said: “We are delighted to see such a strong and varied longlist in this tenth year of awarding the Museum Prize. It is testament to the extraordinary work that is happening around the country in museums and galleries that the 2012 Art Fund Prize longlist showcases excellence, innovation and audience engagement at all levels.”
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “This year’s Art Fund Prize longlist truly reveals the creativity and ambition of museums and galleries beyond London. The vitality of our cultural treasures nationwide is a hugely important resource, and the Art Fund is extremely proud to celebrate these museums’ achievements through its sponsorship of the ‘museum of the year’ prize.”