Museum of the Year 2015 shortlist announced

24 April 2015

We're thrilled to announce the six finalist museums for this year's £100,000 Prize.

From London to Belfast, country house to contemporary art, the finalists represent the diversity of UK museums; each caught the attention of our judges with cutting-edge renovations, innovative programmes and world-class curation. 

The finalists are:

Dunham Massey (National Trust), Altrincham

To mark the First World War centenary, this beautiful Georgian mansion was transformed back into Stamford Military Hospital, with live recreations of stories from its archives.

IWM London

Following an incredible £40m renovation, London's flagship war museum reopened in July 2014, 100 years after the First World War began.

The MAC, Belfast

Belfast’s new arts venue presented an outstanding programme in 2014 and established itself as a world-class contemporary art gallery.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

The museum reopened in 2014 after a spectacular renovation of its neo-Gothic building, and with a lively new public engagement programme.

HM Tower of London (Historic Royal Palaces)

Last year the Tower displayed the stunning installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red: 888,246 ceramic red poppies representing fallen British and Colonial serviceman.

The Whitworth, Manchester

In 2014 the gallery underwent a radical £15m transformation, doubling in size – and while it was closed, ran a series of experimental pop-up events.

Follow the links above to watch short films about each museum – or visit the Museum of the Year 2015 playlist on YouTube.

The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year annually surveys museums and galleries across the UK, awarding one outstanding winner a prize of £100,000. Previous winners have ranged from the British Museum (2011) to Walthamstow’s William Morris Gallery (2013). Last year’s winner was the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, an outdoor art gallery cited for its 'perfect fusion of art and landscape' and its major projects with artists such as Yinka Shonibare MBE and Ai Weiwei. 

Our director, Stephen Deuchar – chair of the judges – said: 'This is by any measure an exciting and diverse shortlist, showing great heights of creativity and ambition. Despite a difficult environment of funding cuts, UK museums continue to be inventive, surprising and exhilarating.' The other judges are artist Michael Landy, design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn, The Economist books and arts editor, Fiammetta Rocco, and Axel Rüger, director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Tate Modern on Wednesday 1 July 2015, following the Museum of the Year Debate.

In a new partnership with the BBC, the Museum of the Year will be celebrated on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and BBC News Online, in a series of broadcasts and online interactive presentations in the run-up to the winner announcement.

Martin Parr and the Photography Competition

We're very excited to announce that the award-winning British photographer Martin Parr is our official Museum of the Year 2015 photographer and has created a collection of photographs celebrating our finalists (see the gallery, above). He will also be a judge of the Museum of the Year Photography Competition, which invites members of the public to submit their own photographs of the shortlisted museums. The competition is open from now until Sunday 31 May 2015.

VocalEyes

The Prize will continue to partner with VocalEyes, a charity that provides access to arts and heritage for blind and partially sighted people. As well as creating audio descriptions of each finalist museum (coming soon!), VocalEyes will offer visual awareness training opportunities for staff and volunteers at the shortlisted museums to ensure that they are equipped to greet and guide blind and partially sighted visitors – while also setting a model of good practice to the sector.

What do you think of this year's shortlist? Tell us in the comments below or use the hashtag #museumoftheyear on social media.

Watch the Museum of the Year 2015 films about the six finalists. Visit the Prize homepage.

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