Community museums selected for UK’s most lucrative art award | Museums

Five museums that have excelled at staying in touch with communities during the pandemic, whether offering virtual trips to the pub or artist-led activity packs, have been shortlisted for the highest artistic award. lucrative UK.

The Art Fund’s Museum of the Year award is the largest museum award in the world, with the winner receiving £ 100,000.

The five shortlisted museums were named on Wednesday: the Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Derry, Experience Barnsley, Firstsite in Colchester, the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds and Timespan in Helmsdale, a village on the east coast of the Scottish Highlands.

Jenny Waldman, director of the Art Fund, said each of the museums showed “extraordinary innovation and determination.”

She added: “It has been amazing to see what UK museums, galleries and historic homes have accomplished, overcoming the challenges of the past year. Their resilience is simply heroic.

“Our five finalists are all deeply rooted in their communities and aware of the possibilities to reach digitally far beyond their locality.”

In previous years, many of the UK’s largest museums have been nominated, with the award winning by the V&A in 2016 and the British Museum in 2011. The list this year includes all small organizations.

The Barnsley Experience, which opened in 2013 in the town hall, traces the local history of the region. Among his lockdown activities have been virtual trips to the pub, a daily digital puzzle, and working with Ian McMillan, his locked out poet.

Timepan in Helmsdale covers local history and a vibrant contemporary art program. Last year, he sent social injustice activity packs to children in the local village, which resulted in the formation of a young gardeners club and an online quarantine cooking show, Recipes for a Disaster, where viewers can learn fun things like how to microwave jam.

The Thackray Museum of Medicine is located in what was originally the Leeds Union Workhouse, which opened in 1861. It was the first pandemic museum to be a vaccination center and worked with schools to create content that reinforces the science behind handwashing.

The Derry CCA has been praised for supporting 65 artists over the past year with paid opportunities including social media takeovers. It presented its biennial exhibition in spaces across the city, which included storefronts, theaters and a shopping center.

The Firstsite Contemporary Art Gallery is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. One of his craziest projects was a downloadable activity pack created by artists such as Gillian Wearing and Mark Wallinger, who urged people to draw their own hand and put it in their window like some kind of wave. national.

This year’s award judges are Maria Balshaw, director of Tate, and presenter Edith Bowman. They will visit all five museums and the winner will be announced on September 20.

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Pia Miller

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