Michael Portillo to visit home of Scotland's best loved poet

  • 14 March 2011

Next Monday, 21 March, Michael Portillo and fellow Art Fund Prize judges will pay a trip to the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Scotland.

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is one of the ten museums long listed for this year’s Art Fund Prize for ‘Museum of the Year’.

Celebrating the legacy of Scotland’s most celebrated poet, the museum is the only institution in Scotland in the running for the prestigious accolade, worth £100,000. It has been long listed for its reinterpretation of a 10-acre multi-destination site and creation of a new museum to house the Robert Burns Collection.

Other museums in the running include the British Museum and Mosytn in Wales.

Next Monday, Michael Portillo and will be accompanied by four fellow judges: artist Jeremy Deller, Guardian journalist Charlotte Higgins, Antiques Roadshow expert and curator Lars Tharp and Lola Young, Baroness Young of Hornsey.

The judges will be given a tour around the museum by the museum director Nat Edwards. They’ll also meet other staff members and have a chance to look around the museum on their own.

In advance of the trip, Nat said: “We are really looking forward to hosting the Art Fund Prize judges and showing them why Burns’ birthplace is such a magical place. The incredibly positive feedback we have had from visitors to the museum makes us very confident that the National Trust for Scotland has created something very special in Alloway. We aim to do all our members and supporters proud, not to mention the immortal memory of the Bard himself, in showing what has been achieved.”

Between now and May, the judges will visit all ten long listed museums before meeting to draw up a short list. Michael Portillo will announce the short list on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row on Thursday 19 May. The £100,000 cash prize will be awarded to the ‘Museum of the Year’ at a ceremony hosted at Tate Britain on 15 June.

Have your say - vote online for your favourite long listed museum and enter a draw to win an iPad.

Jeremy Deller will be recording an audio diary series for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, telling stories and personal reflections as he visits the long listed museums alongside his fellow judges. His visit to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum will be broadcast this spring. Watch this space.